Bears Fail to Find Offensive Answer, Fall 13-5 to Bellarmine
MACON, Ga. – It was a tale of two quarters as the Mercer men's lacrosse team fell, 13-5 to Bellarmine Saturday afternoon from Bear Field.
The Bears (0-3) were outscored 6-2 and 5-2 in the first and third quarters respectively, which proved to be the difference on a blustery day at Bear Field. MU allowed just two goals in the other two stanzas, but couldn't find an offensive answer to record its first win of the season.
In what was a fairly even statistical game, the Bears were unable to bury shots or make an offensive run against a formidable Bellarmine (1-1) defense. The Bears trailed in total shots 40-38, but put just 18 on goal with Bellarmine goalkeeper Dillon Ward making 13 saves on the day.
Mercer got out to an early advantage when sophomore attackman Jay DeBole made a nice run to split the Knights defense and tallied an unassisted goal less than a minute into the game. It would be the only lead of the day for the Bears as BU responded two minutes later when Will Cary netted a shot to even the score.
Bellarmine then scored three unanswered over the next five minutes before sophomore midfielder Eoin Collins recorded his first goal of the game on a man-up advantage. Collins led the Bears attack on Saturday with two goals and an assist. Mercer continued its strong power play going 2-for-5 on extra-man opportunities.
The Bears defense had trouble stopping Bellarmine's Colton Clark who recorded a hat-trick when he scored with 3:16 left to play in the first quarter. Clark tallied his fourth of the quarter just over a minute later to give the Knights a 6-2 lead after one.
Collins again got the Bears off to a quick start in the second half when he scored his second less than a minute into the third. Mercer was paced by another solid outing from faceoff specialist Justin Evans. Evans was 13-of-21 on face-offs, improving his season percentage to 56.9 percent. He also picked up 10 ground balls in the game.
The Knights extended their lead, scoring four unanswered including a man-down goal to take an 11-4 lead in the third. Branch would add the Bears fifth and final goal with just over a minute to play in the quarter on a man-up advantage. The Bears ended the third on a sour note, allowing a goal to BU's Cameron Gardner with just a second to play in the quarter.
Mercer was unable to bring the score any closer in the fourth as Bellarmine held the Bears scoreless while adding the final goal of the game off a Trevor Timmerberg shot at 5:09 remaining.
Mercer hosts Detroit-Mercy next weekend before heading to Jacksonville, Fla. for spring break and a trio of games in the River City. The Bears and Detroit-Mercy square off at 1 p.m. next Saturday at Bear Field.