Mercer vs. Richmond
February 22, 2014
The Game Story:
MACON, Ga. The Mercer men's lacrosse team scored five fourth quarter goals to book a historic 11-7 win over Richmond in the first official Atlantic Sun Conference lacrosse game at Mercer University Stadium on Saturday. Mercer (2-2, 1-0 A-Sun) stayed unbeaten at home this season while Richmond fell to 0-3 (0-1 A-Sun) on the season. "That's a big game for Mercer and the Atlantic Sun Conference," Mercer head coach Kyle Hannan said. "It was well played by both teams, but we were able to play with discipline, stick to the game plan and pull out the victory in the fourth quarter." Trailing 7-6 at the start of the fourth quarter, the Bears rallied for five scores in the final 15 minutes while holding the Spiders without a tally. The hosts posted advantages in shots (8-7), ground balls (9-3), and saves (3-1) in the final period to come away with the win. Eight different Mercer players found the net in the win, led by senior Zack Ward's three goal effort. Ward scored his three goals on just five shots while also collecting an assist and a ground ball. Sophomore goalkeeper Mike Nugent faced 24 shots on goal and made 17 saves in the win to improve to 2-2 on the season. Richmond goalkeeper Benny Pugh made nine saves while allowing 11 goals in the losing effort. "Mike Nugent struggled indoors last weekend, but getting him back into his home environment and having 17 saves today was a major part of our success," Hannan stated. Faceoff specialist Justin Evans won 14-of-23 faceoffs and posted a game-high eight ground balls on Saturday. Evans was especially clutch in the fourth quarter, securing 5-of-6 faceoffs to help the Bears dominate time of possession during the frame. "Justin Evans gave us possessions we needed to have to win the game," Hannan said. Freshman Chris Baxa notched two goals and an assist while firing nine shots on the afternoon. James Tautkus, Cole Branch, Harry Baker, Evans, Ben LeSane and Anssi Kaisalmi also all scored on Saturday. Junior defenseman Justin Wood caused two turnovers to lead the way for the Bears' defense that forced the Spiders into 10 giveaways. The Bears were also a perfect 18-for-18 on clear attempts in the victory. "Another important key to our victory was the play of Colin Massa, who had to defend their number one attackman," Hannan said. "He did a great job executing the game plan and limiting his effectiveness." Mercer returns to Mercer University Stadium to face Texas on March 7. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.