The Bears traveled to Greenville, North Carolina on Tuesday to play East Carolina University where the Pirates beat the Bears 77-75 after a hard-fought game.
Throughout the first half, the Bears were beating the Pirates with the score at 39-30 going into the second half. At one point, the Bears were up 25-10 and it looked like they had secured the win.
In the second period, however, the Pirates locked in defensively and tied the score at 57-57 with 10 minutes remaining in the game. From there, baskets were traded back and forth between the teams until a couple of good free throws by ECU allowed them to create some distance on the scoreboard with only 19 seconds left. With one last good free throw by Mercer's Luis Hurtado '24, the score finalized at 77-75 and the Bears took their first loss of the season.
The Bears now stand at a 1-1 record and will play Milligan College on Nov. 11 in Hawkins Arena at 5:30 p.m.
On Friday, the Bears won their first game of the SoCon tournament, beating VMI (2-13-1), 2-1. The Bears were led by Ousman Jabang ‘23, Sekou Agard ‘25 and Michael Ille ‘23, all of whom had two shots on goal in the game. Overall, there were 18 shots from the Bears, eight of which were on target.
Mercer’s keeper, Trevor McMullen ‘24, had a strong game between the sticks, making two saves. Defender William Pondeca ‘25 led the backline offensively, taking three shots in the game. The first goal of the game came from Ille, who was coming off of a hat trick in the previous game, in the 17th minute. Agard netted the Bear’s second goal in the 68th minute of the game.
On Sunday, Mercer won against ETSU in the semi-finals with a score of 1-0. Dylan Gaither ‘23 put the team on the score sheet in the 17th minute with a goal from a well-placed free kick. His shot was sent perfectly into the top right corner, leaving the ETSU keeper helpless to stop it. Mercer's keeper, Trevor McMullen ‘24, had another standout performance, with a clean sheet and four saves throughout the game.
The team will play UNC-Greensboro on Saturday in the SoCon Championship. Earlier in the season, Mercer lost to them 1-0.
Nov. 5, the Bears played Furman University in Hawkins Arena and beat the Paladins 3-1.
Annie Karle secured 21 kills for the night, one point short of matching her season high against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville back in September. Defensively, Karle had two blocks and 14 digs that helped lead the Bears to the win. As a team, the Bears had 58 kills compared to the Paladins’ 41.
Nov. 9, Mercer played at home again, this time taking on Samford University and lost 3-0. The Bulldogs were able to keep the score consistent throughout the match, beating the Bears 25-17 in the first set, 25-17 in the second, and 25-18 in the third to take home the win.
The games put Mercer’s record at 9-18 overall and 5-10 in conference play. Their next game will be this Saturday in Spartanburg, South Carolina against Wofford College.
Gabriel Kopp '26 is majoring in Journalism and Law and Public Policy at Mercer University. He has written for The Cluster since he started at Mercer, and currently works as the Sports Editor. When he isn't studying, he enjoys going for runs and reading the New York Times.