MACON, Ga. – For the second-straight game, the Mercer women's soccer team was the first to strike, yet this time the Bears held onto the one-goal advantage and secured a 1-0 win over South Alabama on Sunday afternoon at Bear Field.
The win represented a first in many respects. It was the first win of the season for the team, the first for head coach Tony Economopoulos with the program and also his first as a Division I head coach.
Mercer (1-0-1) fought off the fatigue from a double-overtime game on Friday night and came out strong in the first half, recording nine shots while limiting the Jaguars to just one. The Bears balanced attack also led to five corners in the first half yet the two teams went into halftime knotted at 0-0.
Mercer continued the pressure early in the second half and eventually scored off a Lauren Gassie goal in the 52nd minute. Gassie's second of the young season came off her right foot to the far post after a nice run at the top of the Jaguar's box. Gassie finished with the game-winner and led the team with four total shots.
After taking the lead, South Alabama turned it up a notch and began to create chances on goal. The increased offensive production led to six second half shots for South Alabama, but Mercer's defense responded and diffused any real threat on goal.
Mercer fended off the South Alabama late fury and finished with a healthy 17-7 advantage overall in shots and 10-1 advantage in corners. Forwards Washida Blackman and Nadja Kolliesuah both looked sharp up top in recording three shots
Junior goalkeeper Nikki Atkinson recorded her first win of the season as well and looked poised in making three saves on the day.
The Bears head out for their first road trip of the season next week playing first on Thursday at No. 24 South Carolina and finishing up on Saturday at Charleston Southern.