Bears Post Huge 2-1 Conference Opening Win over ETSU
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The Mercer men's soccer team went on the road and came away with an impressive 2-1 win in its Atlantic Sun Conference opener at East Tennessee State on Sunday afternoon.
Mercer (6-3-1, 1-0-0 A-Sun) is now a perfect 5-0-0 in A-Sun Conference openers under fifth-year head coach Brad Ruzzo.
The Bears are 3-1-1 in their last five meetings against ETSU (4-5-1) and handed the Buccaneers their first home loss of the 2012 season.
The conference opener for both squads got off to a quick start for the Orange and Black thanks to a set piece goal. In the 17th minute of play, sophomore Ashani Samuels flicked a corner kick to junior Ryan King who swung a ball to classmate Ehjayson Henry for a slip in goal to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Mercer had a 1-0 lead to start the second half when ETSU mounted an offensive attack to net an equalizer just two minutes into the stanza. Off a counter attack, redshirt junior Luis Calzadilla unleashed a 20-yard strike that just got by Mercer goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh to tie the game at 1-1.
The Bears came right back, however, and re-took the lead in the 50th minute of play thanks to more heroics by Henry. Senior Sharpe Sablon played a give-and-go ball with Henry and the Harris Village, Saint Kitts product placed a finish right between ETSU goalkeeper Ryan Coulter's legs to put Mercer back in front, 2-1.
The Mercer defense held strong the rest of the way to improve the Bears record to 6-1-1 over their last eight contests.
Ranjitsingh tied his season-high with six saves in the win, while Coulter made one save for the Bucs in a losing effort.
Mercer is back in action when it returns to Macon to continue its A-Sun Conference slate against Lipscomb on Thursday night. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Bear Field.