Mercer’s men’s soccer team is opening up their conference games this week against Virginia Military Institute this Saturday at 1 p.m. Since the first game of the season, the team has not lost.
So far this season, the Bears have a 4-1-4 record and in their past five matches, they won once with a score of 4-0 in an away game against Winthrop University. The game on Saturday afternoon will be the first of two home games this week for the Bears, and is the first time they will play in Macon since Sept. 5.
Their opponent, VMI, has a 2-6 record this season, and this will be its conference-opener as well. The last game VMI played was against Radford University, ending 1-0 in favor of the Keydets. The team has struggled to score this season, however. In VMI’s eight games, they have been shut out six times and scored just three times.
Mercer has won every game it has ever played against VMI. In the 17 games where they have faced each other, the Bears have averaged 3.29 goals per game, according to Mercer Athletics. Last year, the game was held in Virginia and ended with a 2-1 Mercer victory.
In the current season, Mercer has allowed the second-least number of goals per game. Through nine games, their opponents have scored nine times, including the season opener in which the Bears conceded six goals.
While they are strong defensively, Mercer is also averaging nearly 1.5 goals a game through their offensive side. The team has been led by a freshman forward who has received recognition for his goal-scoring prowess. Barzee Blama has netted five goals in nine games this season, eight of which he has started. In the past two games, Blama has played the full 90 minutes.
According to Mercer Athletics, Blama has been named the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week twice this season, most recently for his performance two weeks ago against Winthrop.
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.