MACON, Georgia (MERCER ATHLETICS) – The Mercer women's soccer team started its 2013 campaign on a high note after coming away with a 3-1 victory in its exhibition match against Eastern Kentucky on Tuesday afternoon at Bear Field.
The game, which served as the kick-off to the Mercer Athletics Department 2013-14 season, was played out over three periods instead of the traditional two 45-minute halves.
"Overall, I thought it was a solid performance for our team and I think they were just excited to be able to play against somebody else after being in preseason camp over the last seven days," head coach Tony Economopoulos said. "I thought the first period especially went very well in that I was happy with how we moved the ball around and put them under pressure. We do have some things we need to work on, fitness being one of them, but I think when we get that taken care of and start communicating a little more out there we have all the components to be successful."
Mercer outshot Eastern Kentucky 20-12, with the Colonels holding a slight 4-3 edge in corner kicks.
Freshman Haleigh Svede got the scoring started in the 13th minute of play when she received a nice layoff pass from junior Lauren Gassie and fired a shot in the upper right 90 of goal to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.
Gassie, who was the lone Mercer selection on the Preseason All-Atlantic Sun team, doubled the Orange and Black's lead just minutes later when she blasted a shot from about 25 yards out into the back of the net to make the score 2-0.
Senior Sadie Curry got the Bears off to a good start in the second period when she collected an EKU turnover and slid a shot in past the keeper to push Mercer out to a 3-0 lead in the 34th minute of play.
Eastern Kentucky had its first real scoring chance of the contest in the 42nd minute, but a header off a corner kick was turned away by senior Nikki Atkinson and a follow-up shot was blocked by a Bears defender to keep the shutout intact.
Eventually, the Colonels got on the board in the 65th minute of play when she ran onto a through ball and slipped a shot past freshman Cristina Mursuli to make the final score 3-1.
All three of Mercer's goalkeepers including sophomore Maggie Cropp, Atkinson and Mursuli played 30 minutes apiece in the match with Atkinson leading all netminders with three saves in the win.
Mercer is back on the field for its Orange and White intersquad scrimmage on August 17 before going on the road to take on Alabama A&M in its 2013 regular season opener on August 24 at 4 p.m.