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Saturday, Sep 25, 2021

Soccer falls to UCF, drops VMI

Coming off a 2-0 win against Appalachian State, the Mercer men’s soccer team fell short to in-state rival Georgia State in a very physical game at GSU.
In the first half of the game, freshman Carl-Oscar Andersson set up a perfect ball that sophomore Ehjayson Henry used to slide past Georgia State to give the Bears a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, in the last quarter of the game, GSU was able to get two goals to secure their own lead of 2-1 that would win them the game.
Returning home for their fifth game of the season, versus UCF, the Bears shared an emotional moment on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 as we all took time to honor and give tribute to those who have lost their lives as a result of the act of terror that happened on Sept. 11 of 2001. Chief Gary Collins of Mercer Police offered words of reflection on the events of 9/11 and America’s response since then, followed by a moment of silence. The moment of silence was broken by a lone bag piper of Mercer University’s Pipes and Drums playing a solemn Amazing Grace.
Once the game kicked off, the Knights dominated in possession and shots on goal. Mercer was playing undermanned due to an injury and a red card in the previous match. As a result, Coach Ruzzo had a short bench to work with. In the first half, UCF took a 2-0 lead.
In the second half, UCF managed to obtain a 4-0 lead until sophomore Ehjayson Henry faked left of the defense and barreled the ball into the back of the net, putting the score at 4-1. Shortly following Henry’s goal, UCF scored their fifth and final goal of the game. Despite the firepower UCF had, senior Ryan Young held a strong defensive presence throughout the game and also managed to score his first goal of the 2011 season with a free kick in the 84th minute. The final score read 5-2 in favor of UCF.
The Mercer men’s soccer team closed out their sixth game of the season with a very physical, gut-wrenching, yet ultimately rewarding home game against VMI. The Bears clearly dominated the entire game despite an early 1-0 advantage for VMI, gained 21 minutes into the game. With seven minutes left on the clock in the first half, Mercer scored a goal to tie the game but the goal was immediately withdrawn.
Walking into the second half, another Mercer goal was frustratingly withdrawn just a few minutes in. By this point in the game, the home crowd began to get rowdy and vocal with their own frustrations and the Bears seemed to respond. In the 79th minute of the game, freshman Ashani Samuels scored from a corner kick serve for his first collegiate goal to tie the game. The crowd went wild. Finally making their way onto the scoreboard, the Bears began to act like an entirely different team. Junior Will Betts scored with 10 minutes left in the game. This 2-1 lead was quickly followed by another solid goal issued from redshirt sophomore Bryson Jones, who obtained the ball by way of a beautiful assist from freshman Carl-Oscar Andersson and junior Joey Heavner. It was an exciting end to a 3-1 victory over VMI.
After the win against VMI, the men’s soccer team now finds themselves with an overall record of 2-3-1. The Bears will kick off conference play on Sept. 29 as they take on North Florida.


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