(Photo Courtesy of Mercer Athletics)
The Mercer Bears defeated the Bellarmine Knights 9-4 on Saturday afternoon in a game that kicked off the 2022 college lacrosse season. The win marks the Bears’ second-ever win over the Knights, who now lead the all-time series 10-2.
Ashton Wood’s play at the faceoff dot highlighted the Bears’ performance. Wood went 13-for-15 (86%) on the day.
Mercer got things started quickly with Sean Goldsmith putting one past Bellarmine goalie JC Higginbotham less than a minute into the contests to record the first goal of the college lacrosse season. The Bears found the net twice more late in what was a very sloppy first quarter with Taylor Dooley and Parker Judd each scoring to make it a 3-0 Bears lead at the end of the first.
In the second, Bellarmine found some rhythm on offense as they put away three straight from Denton MacDonald, Brayden Brown, and Benny O’Rouke. Christian DellaRocco assisted on the first two of the run. It would be the only momentum the Knights found all day on offense as they didn’t find the back of the net again until a Patrick Keegan goal with 6:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. They had multiple other opportunities late in the game, taking nine shots in the final stanza alone, but struggled to convert.
From the 59-second mark in the second through the 3:56 mark in the third, Mercer went on a six-goal run to put things away. Goldsmith had one goal during that run while Dooley had one goal and one assists during that time frame to lead the Bears in points with three on the day.
The Mercer defense, which held the Knights scoreless for over 30 minutes from late in the second through late in the fourth, was anchored by a six-save (60% save percentage) performance from Colin Kelley. Wesley Chairs collected two caused turnovers and one ground ball. The Bears top pole, Chairs was matched up against the Knights’ top attackman, Kyle Playsted, most of the game and held him scoreless.
JC Higginbotham had seven saves for the Bellarmine defense while Jon Robbins had five caused turnovers and two ground balls. Robbins five caused turnovers make him Bellarmine’s all-time career leader in caused turnovers, surpassing Eric Rubak’s record set last season.
Next up for Mercer is a home contest against Bucknell next Saturday at 11am (ET). Bellarmine will travel to Michigan next week for a noon contests against the Wolverines.