MACON, Ga. - The Mercer men's soccer team equaled its best start dating back to the 2002 season with a gritty 2-1 Atlantic Sun Conference win over Lipscomb on Thursday evening at Bear Field.
Mercer (7-3-1, 2-0-0 A-Sun) played the entire second half with 10 men due to a red card late in the first half and still protected a one-goal lead for its fourth-straight home win.
Mercer equaled its 2010 squad with a 7-3-1 overall record for the best start after 11 games since the 2002 edition of the Bears went 8-2-1.
The Orange and Black got on the board first in the eighth minute of play thanks to a quick decision by senior Richie Edmondson. The Montego Bay, Jamaica native launched a snap throw in to junior Ryan King who flicked a header to sophomore Carl-Oscar Andersson who then promptly buried a header of his own into the back of the net to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
Mercer didn't stop there, however, striking again in the 24th minute off another well executed set piece. Junior Brady O'Brien served a free kick into the box that sophomore Ashani Samuels leaped up and flicked past Lipscomb goalkeeper Miguel Hof to put the Bears out in front 2-0. The tally for Samuels was his third in as many games, moving him into a tie for second on the squad for most goals scored this season.
The Bisons didn't go away though, using a beautiful set piece goal of their own in the form of a one-time volley by sophomore Luke Gearin to cut the lead down to 2-1 with 17 minute remaining in the first half.
Mercer would hold strong for the entire second half despite playing a man down, never really allowing any quality chances for Lipscomb up until the final horn. Redshirt junior Bryson Jones, redshirt sophomore Michael Lewis and freshman Mark Riggins all came on as subs in the second half and played excellent individual defense to help secure the win.
Mercer goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh made four saves in the win, while Hof made six saves for the Bisons in a losing effort.
Mercer is back on the pitch when it welcomes Stetson into town on October 7. Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Bear Field.