Mercer’s men’s soccer team defeated Furman University 2-0 in Greenville, South Carolina, winning them the Southern Conference championship on Sunday. It was the program’s fifth SoCon championship in seven years.
The team, who finished the season with a 7-5-8 record overall and a 1-2-2 record in the SoCon, stumbled down the final stretch of the season, going winless in all fixtures during the month of October. The SoCon playoffs, however, began with a 3-1 Mercer victory over University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Two freshmen scored the deciding goals in their playoff debuts, Barzee Blama ‘27 and Ehi Aimiuwu ‘27.
Going into the semi-finals, Mercer was put up against a team whom it had lost to 2-1 in the final regular season game of the year, East Tennessee State University. Merce outshot ETSU 16-8 in the game, but at the end of regulation, the game ended 1-1 after a late goal from Sekou Agard ‘25. After both teams converted just three of their five attempts in the penalty shootout, Grant Hampton ‘25 put the game-winning penalty into the back of the net following an ETSU miss.
In the final game of the season, the Bears started strong. Within the opening six minutes of the game, Mercer was ahead 2-0. Nick Wanzer ‘24 scored his fourth goal of the season just over a minute into the game. Four minutes later, Carlos Santamaria '25 also netted his fourth goal of the season.
Furman had nine shots on goal in the game, but Trevor McMullen ‘24 and his defense were able to parry the Paladins’ attacks.
With the win, the Bears are set to face the Florida International University Panthers. FIU had a 9-4-4 record overall this season, and they finished with a 5-1-2 record in the American Athletic Conference.
The Bears and Panthers have not faced off against each other before, but they have one common opponent from this season. Both teams beat the University of South Florida, with the Bears coming away with a 2-1 victory while FIU won 2-0.
The match between Mercer and FIU will be held in Miami on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 7 p.m.
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.