Mercer men’s lacrosse falters late in 14-12 loss at Jacksonville
Mercer (6-5, 3-1 A-Sun) lost for the first time in conference play and suffered its second-straight defeat overall. The Dolphins moved to 3-7 (2-1 A-Sun) with their second-straight triumph.
Senior Cole Branch scored a career-high five goals to pace Mercer’s offense with five total points, while senior Zack Ward, sophomore Chris Baxa and freshman Whit Anderson also registered multi-point performances.
After the first quarter ended in a 3-3 tie, the Bears rattled off three-straight scores at the start of the second stanza. Jacksonville ended that streak with a goal at the 2:57 juncture of the period, but the Bears closed the frame with another two scores to take an 8-4 lead into halftime.
Out of the break, the Dolphins scored three times in just over seven minutes to get back within a single goal, but Branch and Ward each found the net to put Mercer up 10-7 at the start of the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Dolphins used a 12-3 shot advantage to outscore the Bears 7-2 and solidify the comeback effort.
Both teams fired 36 shots in the game while Mercer came away with a 32-22 advantage in ground balls and an 18-12 lead in faceoffs won. Both teams were perfect in clear attempts, with the Dolphins converting 15 attempts while Mercer cleared 12-of-12 attempts.
Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Nugent made 10 saves on 36 shots faced in 60 minutes of work. The loss dropped Nugent to 6-4 on the season.
Mercer’s loss – combined with High Point’s win at Richmond – pushed the Bears down to second place in the league standings. Mercer, Richmond and Jacksonville are all still event in the loss column, with one apiece.
Mercer finishes up its A-Sun regular season schedule hosting Furman on April 19. The game, which will serve as Senior Night, is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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