MACON, Ga. – The scoring woes continued for the Mercer women’s soccer team on Friday night as the team was unable to notch a goal for the fourth-straight match and lost a nail-biter against Florida Gulf Coast, 1-0 at Bear Field.
In a well-fought defensive battle the Bears (7-6-0, 1-4-0) and Eagles (8-3-1, 3-0-1) traded blows keeping the game knotted at zero deep into the second half. It wasn’t until a Mercer foul and a subsequent stoppage of time due to an injury that the game changed dramatically.
Deep in Mercer’s end FGCU drew a foul and after a quick stoppage due to an injury, the Eagle quickly resumed play and caught the Bears off guard. FGCU was able to find a loose ball near the Bears’ box and the Eagle’s Kayley Clay took a well-driven shot from the far side of the field that beat Mercer goalkeeper Nikki Atkinson to the near post in 78th minute.
“You have to give FGCU credit,” head coach Grant Serafy said. “They came onto our home field and showed more heart than we did and made plays.”
The Bears did have several chances in the game to either go up early on or add the equalizer late in the game. In the 49th minute sophomore Casey Barrett took a long-range that hit the post, which would have given the Bears the lead.
Then with 11 minutes to play and down a goal, Mercer upped its attack and had several scoring chances that were diffused by FGCU’s solid defense. Mercer outshot the Eagles in the second half 4-3.
“We have handed too many teams games,” Serafy said. “That’s not to take anything away from FGCU or any of the teams we have played, but we have chances to win these games and it’s just been a lack of heart.”
Sophomore Nikki Atkinson received her first start of the season and performed well making five saves on the night.
With four conference matches left, the Bears currently find themselves in seventh position in the A-Sun and will have a short turnaround for their next conference match against Stetson on Sunday. Hatters lost a 2-0 decision on Friday night at Kennesaw St. and will kick-off against Mercer at 2 p.m.
Sunday’s match is also the Bears’ annual parent appreciation day.