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Here's what you need to know about Mercer athletics this week.
The Bears started the week off with a tie against Georgia State University when they traveled to Atlanta on Sunday, Aug. 28. The Panthers were ranked 30th by College Soccer News in the pre-season poll, so this 1-1 tie was no simple task for the Bears.
Chad Eldrige was the first to score in the game with an assist from Kevin Kim to put Mercer on the board. Georgia State’s Matt Taylor scored seven minutes later, creating a tie that neither team would be able to break for the rest of the game.
The Bears also traveled to Blacksburg, Virginia to play North Carolina State University on Friday, Sept 2. They tied again with a score of 1-1. Andrew Anyafo scored with just over 41 minutes to go in the second period.
The two games put them at a 1-0-2 record that they will attempt to strengthen this week.
Meanwhile, the women's soccer team is having an impressive season so far, going 3-1-1 since the beginning of the season. They traveled to Alabama to take on Troy University on Thursday, Sept. 1, and came out with their first loss. After an hour-long weather delay, Troy’s Nia Wilson found the back of the net, and the Bears were unable to respond.
This loss put their record 3-1-1 as they headed into their game on Sunday, Sept. 4 against the University of North Florida.
After two losses and a win, the Bears hosted their first tournament of the 2022-2023 season on Friday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 27 in Hawks Arena.
During the first game against the University of Southern Mississippi Eagles on Friday, the Bears started off with a leading first set. Blocks from Paige Wagers and kills from Annie Karle and Lillian Beardsley set them up with a 25-15 lead. The Bears, however, lost the second and third sets to the Eagles with scores of 16-25 and 21-25, respectively. The Bears lost 3-1 as they headed into Saturday's contests.
The Bears came back with a win against Queens University of Charlotte Royals after losing the first set. Multiple kills were made by Alleigh Johnson in the first set, setting the Bears back only for Wagers and Beardsley to strike back with returned kills. The game ended after the fourth set as Jaida Howell and Karle were able to keep the Bears’ second-half lead going, leading the Bears to win 3-1.
The Bears were unable to maintain the momentum as the Charleston Southern University Buccaneers scored 3-0. The first set was an especially close encounter as Howell, Beardsley and Karle kept up the intensity only for Peyton Thompson and Skylar Yates to score countless kills against the Bears’ attack errors ending in a lead for the Buccaneers at 25-23. The Bucs won the third game with 25-23 in the second set and 25-21 in the third set.
The weekend put their record at 2-4 so far in the season. The Bears’ next matches are in Deland, Florida against Bethune-Cookman University on Friday, Sept. 9 and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Stetson University on Saturday, Sept. 10.
The Bears traveled to Auburn, Alabama to take on the Auburn Tigers on Saturday and lost 42-16.
Mercer got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter when Payton threw a 5-yard pass to Harper in the endzone. The Bears scored again in the fourth quarter when they entered into field goal territory. Devin Folser split the uprights from 33-yards out and raised the score to 42-10.
Harper would also get the last touchdown of the contest with 25 seconds to go. He ended the night with five passes, 45 yards receiving and two touchdowns. As the clock hit zero the Bears lost 42-16, but still caught the eye of many as they scored three times against an SEC team.
Read more: Mercer turns heads again after scoring three times against the Auburn Tigers