BUIES CREEK, N.C. – The Mercer men's soccer team fell victim to a fluke play that ended up costing it the game in a 3-2 loss at Campbell on Saturday evening at Eakes Athletic Complex.
A crossing pass by Camels midfielder Brian Urioste glanced off Mercer junior Phil Thoren's leg and into goal with just over one minute left in regulation to give Campbell the 3-2 win.
The loss drops Mercer to 6-3-1 (1-2 A-Sun), while Campbell improves to 4-3-4 (2-1 A-Sun) with the win.
The Bears out-shot the Camels 13-12 and had a commanding 7-2 advantage in corner kicks in defeat.
Things didn't start well for the Bears as Campbell put its first shot of the match past Mercer goalkeeper Brett Petricek to give the home team an early lead. Sophomore Keegan Terry took a header back across the box by freshman Justin Franz and one-timed it past Petricek to put the Camels up 1-0 in the ninth minute of play.
The Bears didn't let the early goal faze them, however, striking back with a tally of their own just minutes later. Sophomore Richie Edmondson found himself in the right place at the right time, knocking in a mishandled attempt by Campbell goalkeeper Ryan Amons to tie the game up, at 1-1.
Both teams locked down defensively for the remainder of the half to keep the score 1-1 going into halftime.
The second half started out eerily similar to the first, with the Camels once again scoring an early goal. Franz unleashed a left-footed shot in the 55th minute that dipped just under the crossbar and past Petricek, giving the home team a 2-1 lead.
The Orange and Black kept attacking and looking for another equalizer, which they found in the 67th minute of the match. Freshman Taylor Krek forced a turnover in the Campbell final third and fired a shot just outside the goalie box that found the back of the net to tie the game again, at 2-2.
Petricek made five saves in the loss, while freshman Ethan Hall made three saves in his first action all season to earn the win.
Mercer comes home for two games this upcoming weekend after playing nine of its first 10 games this season on the road. First up for the Bears is a match-up with the defending A-Sun Champion Stetson on Thursday, October 14. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Bear Field.