The Mercer women's soccer team concluded regular season conference play ranked fourth in the Atlantic Sun Conference. In their final weekend of play, the team traveled south to Florida to take on University of North Florida and Jacksonville.
Mercer tied in a double overtime effort 0-0 to UNF. The Bears later dropped in an 0-1 loss against Jacksonville. This established the Bear's fourth place standing, securing a home match for the first round of conference.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, Mercer hosted Stetson in the first round of the tournament. Bear Field was packed out as the team defeated the Hatters in the quarterfinal match 1-0. Junior Lauren Gassie commented on the win.
"We love having the other athletes and students coming to support us. Playing in a loud and energetic environment is always exciting,"
The lone goal was scored by senior Sadie Curry in her final match on Bear Field.
The win puts Mercer playing in the semifinal match Friday, Nov. 9, versus Mercer’s greatest rival, Florida Gulf Coast. The Bears have a long standing rivalry with Gulf Coast and are excited for the opportunity to upset.
"Losing to FGCU in the finals both my freshman and sophomore year is frustrating and I can't wait for Saturday. I'm hoping we can get the upset and leave the A-sun with a trophy and a ring." Gassie said.
A win for the team this weekend is crucial, and will push the Bears into the finals of the Atlantic Sun Championships, which they have competed in the past two seasons.
As the season comes to a close, accolades are given to players the conference deems deserving. Three Bears were recognized. Lauren Gassie and Washida Blackman were named to Atlantic Sun All-Conference second team. Gassie has contributed 14 points for the season, and Blackman leads the team with 16 points.
"I feel really lucky to be named to All Conference along with Washida. More Mercer players deserved to be on the team, but we will have to prove that going into semis," said Gassie.
The third honorary receiving conference recognition was junior Brianna Stampler. Stampler was named as one of Atlantic Sun's All Conference Academic for her efforts in the classroom and on the field. Stampler has a 3.59 GPA as a holistic child major.
"I'm so happy that I made All Conference because I feel like all my hard work paid off a little bit," said Stampler.
The Bears are excited and thankful for the opportunity they have in the tournament. As they take on FGCU, they are diligently preparing for the challenge ahead.
"As a team we are just trying to have fun and stay positive. We all keep reminding ourselves and each other of our goal to win the tournament, get a ring and head to the A-Sun tournament," Stampler adds.
The Bears head to Fort Myers, Fla., this weekend to take on the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast as they make their run in the conference tournament.