FORT MYERS, Fla. (MERCER RELEASE) – The Mercer men's soccer teams' 2013 season came to an end on Wednesday evening following a 1-0 loss to North Florida in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Championship hosted at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
Wednesday night's contest did signify Mercer's (5-14-1) sixth-straight A-Sun Championship appearance, tied with Lipscomb for the longest active streak in the league.
"We created several easy chances in the second half that we did not convert and gave up a questionable penalty kick in the first half," head coach Brad Ruzzo said. "I felt we played hard in the second half and deserved a couple of penalty kick chances ourselves that we didn't get. I want to thank the seniors on this year's team as they have left a tremendous legacy with our program athletically, academically and socially."
Physicality was the theme throughout the match for both teams as a combined 26 fouls and six yellow cards were issued by the referee.
UNF managed to get on the board first following a collision in the box between Mercer goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh and an Ospreys attacking player in the 31st minute of the contest. The referee awarded a penalty kick as a result and junior Pedro Carneiro promptly converted the chance to give UNF a 1-0 lead.
As the second half moved along Mercer desperately tried sending men forward in order to score an equalizer and nearly did so on two occasions.
The Bears first scoring chance of the second stanza came in the 69th minute of play. Sophomore Juan Jose Morales ran onto a blocked shot by senior Joey Heavner and rifled his attempt just over the crossbar.
Mercer had one final chance in the 78th minute when senior Ehjayson Henry managed to track down a ball behind the UNF defense, but his shot was stopped by charging Ospreys goalkeeper Brad Sienkiewicz to preserve the 1-0 win for North Florida.
Ranjitsingh had five saves in the contest to bring his career total up to 257, which is the 19th-most saves in a career in A-Sun Conference history.
Mercer bids farewell to an unbelievable six-member 2013 senior class after tonight's loss including Heavner, Henry, Ryan King, Brady O'Brien, Cole Mitchell and Michael Lewis.