MACON, Ga. – Mercer University made history on Wednesday afternoon by hosting its first-ever men's lacrosse game, as well as the first-ever NCAA Division I men's game in state of Georgia, in the team's 15-9 loss to Virginia Military Institute.
The Bears (0-2) gave the crowd of 478 fans on the Macon campus its first official look at an intercollegiate game as a part of the MU athletics landscape.
Mercer head coach Jason Childs found some positives in the performance of his team (with a strarti9ng lineup comprised entirely of freshmen).
"I think we got a little bit better (from its opening day loss)," Childs said. "When things got tough, we lost our poise very quickly which has a lot to do with our youth.
"But we fought hard all the way to the end and kept playing. We had seven more goals than in the opener, a ton more shots and cleared the ball better. When you're as young as we are, the only thing you can do is keep playing to get more experience."
VMI and Mercer were knotted at 1-1 after the first quarter and the Bears were still within striking rank at halftime, down 4-2. However, the wheels fell off in the third quarter as the Keydets out-scored MU, 8-3, to go ahead 12-5. Mercer added four goals in the final period (to three by VMI) for the final 15-9 score.
Mercer had nine different players score in the game. Sam Grayson's unassisted goal at 8:46 of the first quarter was the first one scored by the Bears in a home game. Eoin Collins had a goal and an assist, while Cole Branch and Brett Eisenmann each tallied their second goals of the season.
Mercer goalkeeper Justin Bateman played all 60 minutes in the Bears' nets, booking 11 saves.
For VMI, Colin Bosse and Andre Nieminski each had three goals. Drew Leonard assisted on four goals on the afternoon.