SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Max Poore and Jordan Duru each found the back of the net in the opening 30 minutes of Sunday’s matinee against Gardner-Webb in the SoCon/Big South Challenge to give the Bears a 2-1 victory over the Bulldogs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Bears were on the front foot and dictated the run of play from the opening whistle on Sunday. The Orange and Black fired off six shots, four of which were on target, in the opening 16 minutes of play to set the tone. Mercer got the goal it deserved in the 22nd minute, as Max Poore nodded home a cross from Jake Mezei to put the team on top 1-0.
Just five minutes later the Bears doubled their lead to 2-0 in the 27th minute. Poore placed a perfect pass to Duru, who unleashed a strike from just inside of the box that beat the keeper to the top left of the frame to give Mercer a two-goal advantage heading into the halftime intermission.
The Bulldogs pulled within one in the 50th minute, as Mercer was whistled for a foul in the box, resulting in a Gardner-Webb penalty kick. Ali Gashamy stepped up to the spot and placed the ball in the bottom left corner of the net to trim the Mercer lead to 2-1. After the Bulldogs’ goal the Mercer defense stepped up and minimized the amount of threats it faced the rest of the match, as the Bears went on to win by a final score of 2-1.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Max Poore made a huge impact in the attacking third for the Bears on Sunday, as he was involved in both of Mercer’s first half goals. Poore opened the scoring with a headed goal and then found Duru in space to set up the second score. The senior midfielder’s goal was the first of the season and eighth of his career.
MERCER STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Bears’ quick start was exactly what the team needed after getting shutout on Friday evening. The two first half scores mark the most goals the team has scored in any half this season.
· The Bears are now 7-4-0 in the all-time series against Gardner-Webb.
· Mercer never trailed on Sunday, marking the third time in just four outings in which the team has either led or been level an entire match.
· The Orange and Black is 3-0 in 2016 in matches decided by one goal.
· Poore scored a goal and recorded an assist in the same match for the second time in his Mercer career, with the other occasion happening against VMI (11/7/2015).
· Poore recorded 3+ points for the first time this season and third time in his four-year collegiate career.
· Duru got off the mark with his first goal of the season and 11th of his career after leading the team with seven during the 2015 campaign.
· Mezei’s assist was his first of the season and fourth of his career.
· The squad is now 2-1 when playing in the Palmetto State in 2016.
Mercer improves to 3-1-0 on the year, while Gardner-Webb falls to 1-2-0 through three matches.
The Bears are back on the road on Thursday, Sept. 8 for a midweek matchup with Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn. The contest is slated to start at 7 p.m.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE BEARS
For complete coverage of Mercer Men’s Soccer, please follow the Bears on social media at @Mercer_MSoccer (Twitter) and /MercerMSoccer (Facebook) or visit the official home of Mercer Athletics at MercerBears.com.