Bears Drop Season Opener, 15-8 to Ohio St.
MACON, Ga. – The Mercer men's lacrosse team scored six goals in the second half, but couldn't keep pace with the visiting Ohio St. Buckeyes, falling 15-8 in the 2012 season opener at Bear Field on Saturday.
The Buckeyes (2-0), who were receiving votes in several preseason Top 25 rankings, scored seven goals in the second quarter which proved to be the difference in Saturday's game.
In what was a rematch of last season's season opener, the Bears showed much improvement over the20-2 loss in Columbus last year.
A big reason for the Bears' success on Saturday was the play of MU's faceoff specialist, Justin Evans. Evans, a freshman from Kennesaw, finished the day 17-of-23 on faceoff attempts, giving the Bears a clear advantage of possession throughout the game.
Mercer got out to a two-goal advantage early when Brett Eisenmann scored his first of the year eight minutes in. Less than 10 second later, Evans secured the faceoff and made a nice run through the middle of the Ohio St. defense to score his first career goal.
Eisenmann led the Bears attack on the day scoring two goals and adding two assists.
Ohio St. would counter however getting two back in the next three minutes. The Buckeye's Michael Italiano added OSU's third of the quarter from the top of the circle, giving the Buckeyes a 3-2 advantage after one.
In the second quarter Ohio St. continued to put on the attack, scoring seven more before the end of the half. All told, Ohio St. scored 10 unanswered taking a 10-2 lead into halftime. Nine Buckeye players scored on the day, led by Brock Sorensen and Adam Trombley, who each added three goals.
In the second half, the teams traded early goals with Mercer attackman Cole Branch netting his first of the season just over the midway point of the third quarter. The Bears would then score four unanswered off goals by Eisnemann, freshman attackman Emery Hanback, transfer Zack Ward and sophomore John Avent.
Midway through the fourth quarter Mercer had cut the Buckeye lead to 12-7. Ohio St. again answered and extended their cushion to seven with goals from David Planning and Mike Smail with just over six minutes remaining in the game.
Mercer sophomore Keoni Rausch added his first of the year on an unassisted shot from the top of the box to close out the Bears scoring on the day.
Mercer will have a short turnaround before playing No. 6 North Carolina tomorrow at the Lovett School in Atlanta. Game time is set for 1 p.m.