Mercer’s Hannan claims A-Sun Coach of the Year

MACON, Ga. (MERCER ATHLETICS RELEASE) – Mercer second-year men’s lacrosse head coach Kyle Hannan captured Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year honors as the league announced its postseason awards on Wednesday. Six players were also honored as the Bears landed one first team selection, five second team spots and an All-Freshman team recognition.

Senior Cole Branch earned one of 12 spots on the All-Conference first team while senior Zack Ward, sophomore Chris Baxa, junior Timmy Geran, sophomore Mike Nugent and freshman Colin Massa landed second team spots. Massa was also awarded a spot on the league’s All-Freshman team.

Hannan guided Mercer to a 7-6 overall record and 4-1 mark in league play during the regular season, securing a share of the conference’s regular season championship at the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Atlantic Sun Tournament. The team’s seven wins are a program single-season record and featured a streak of four-straight victories from March 15-30.

Hannan joins Bob Hoffman (men’s basketball) and Steve Bradley (men’s golf) as Mercer coaches to take A-Sun Coach of the Year honors in 2013-14.

Branch took home first team honors after racking up 21 goals during the regular season, including a team-leading 12 goals against league opponents. In conference play, Branch ranks third among league players in goals per game (2.4) and eighth in points per game (2.8).

The Marietta, Georgia native boasted six multi-goal performances during the regular season, including a season-high five scores against Jacksonville on April 12.

Senior Zack Ward collected his All-Conference second team distinction after leading Mercer with 30 goals and 38 total points during the regular season. Ward ranks second among league players in goals per game (2.5) and points per game (3.17) while also leading the conference with three game winning goals.

Ward’s 30 goals is three short of the single-season scoring record, set by Baxa last year.

Baxa captured his own second-team selection after finishing the regular season ranked among the top-five A-Sun players in goals per game (T-4th – 2.0), assists per game (T-5th – 1.0), points per game (T-3rd – 1.0), shots per game (1st – 9.08) and man-up goals (T-3rd – 0.42). His year includes eight multi-goal efforts and two games with five or more points.

Geran elicited a second team nod after completing the regular season ranked second among A-Sun players in assists per game and 13th nationally in the category. Geran scored at least once in four outings this season and registered six different multi-assist performances.

Nugent earned his second team placement after amazing 144 saves while starting all 13 games this year. The Milton, Georgia native ranks nationally in a slew of statistical categories, including saves per game (12th – 11.08), save percentage (13th – 0.558) and goals against average (25th – 9.67).

Between the pipes, Nugent posted 10 or more saves in eight games, including a season-high 17 against Richmond. He also booked at least one ground ball in all 13 games.

Massa gathered his two All-Conference awards after anchoring the Mercer defense that ranked second among league teams with 10.56 goals allowed per game. Massa piled up 16 ground balls on the season and also tallied five caused turnovers.

Categories: Across Georgia Sports, Sports

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