It took nine hard losses to finally win the first game of the 2011 inaugural season, but the Bears were victors in front of nearly 300 fans at Bear Field as they overtook Carthage College, a Division III school from Wisonsin, 17-13.
The Bears grabbed the lead in the first period and never looked back, taking a 8-5 lead into halftime and defending against a furious comeback effort from Carthage in the third quarter to take the four-point win. Mercer’s Harry Baker started the scoring fest in the first period with 12:14, before Carthage would answer back with a goal of their own nearly a minute later.
The men in orange and black got hot with consecutive goals coming off the sticks of Brett Eisenmann, Eoin Collins and Colton Mattei to give the Bears the lead for the remainder of the game. Unfortunately the Red Men would make it a tough go on the Bears, netting a goal with 22 seconds remaining in the first, but Brett Eisenmann’s unassisted goal to start the second period gave Mercer a resounding answer to Carthage’s push.
Despite being outscored in third period, Mercer would string together four consecutive goals stretching from the 1:20 mark in the third quarter to the 11:27 mark in the fourth to put the game well out of reach.
“It’s great we’ve learned how to win,” Mercer’s head coach Jason Childs said following the game.
“Winning is not something you can do just by snapping your fingers. The best part was that we won, but played ugly. We had lots of room for improvement yet still manufactured 17 goals, and that’s a good thing,” he added.
Four players would net a hat trick for Mercer, including John Avent, Cole Branch, Eoin Collins and Brett Eisenmann, while Colton Mattei would add two goals. Sam Grayson, Michael Emerson and Harry Baker would chip in with one apiece. Goalie Justin Bateman would finish the 60-minute contest with 13 saves alongside the 13 goals he allowed.
“Our focus is looking forward, not backward,” Childs said.
Looking ahead, the Bears host Air Force at home this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. on Bear Field before traveling to Presbyterian and Holy Cross for the remaining two games of the season’s slate. The return to Presbyterian will be a first for Childs as he left the program after the 2009 season to build Mercer’s first lacrosse program.