The Mercer Bears are the 69th, and nicest, team in our 2017 schedule preview. The Bears finished 5-8 overall, and 3-4 in Southern Conference play. Mercer failed to make the SoCon Tournament. Let’s dive into their schedule.
The Bears host scrimmages against Division II schools Florida Southern (January 21) and Florida Tech (January 28) at Five Star Stadium. They open up the season at home on February 4 against Vermont. Their next game is two weeks later, as Mercer takes on Detroit Mercy in Lexington, Kentucky. The Bears edged the Titans in last year’s battle, 9-8. The team continues on the road to take on UMBC on February 25.
Mercer returns home on March 2 to take on Big Ten foe Michigan. They’ll play two games in three days in the New Jersey/New York area, beginning with NJIT on March 10, followed two days later with Wagner to end nonconference play. SoCon play opens up on March 18 at home against defending SoCon champion Air Force. The Falcons beat the Bears in Colorado last year, 15-13. Mercer is on the road on March 25 to take on Furman. Last year’s game was a 12-10 victory for the Bears.
April opens up with a home game against High Point on the 1st of the month, followed by a road test in Virginia on April 8 against Richmond. The Bears have a two-game homestand, beginning with Jacksonville on April 15, followed by Bellarmine on April 22 in the home finale. The Bellarmine game could be big in deciding whether or not Mercer makes the SoCon Tournament. The regular season finale is on April 29 on the road against VMI.
Kyle Hannan’s squad loses one of their top point scorers in Chris Baxa, who led the team with 22 goals a year ago. But the attack remains in tact for the most part. Shawn Carter and Chris Rahill both return after starting in many games last year, along with Kevin Yoggy, Pascal Coombs, Bryan Gibson, and Jackson Kleintz. Sophomore Lucas Wittenberg was on the SoCon’s All-Freshman team with a team-high 12 assists and tying the team-lead with 24 points. Matt Quinn returns as the other starter at midfield, which also includes Scott Baird, James Fromert, Patrick de Hueck, and Jackson Teague as other options at the position. The starting defense should remain the same with William Deines, Hank Morgan, and Colin Massa all back. Gabriel Anderson and Jack Margiotta are other options at defense or LSM. Clay Rivers and Walker Ensor, along with Chance Kushner, will probably be key players as short stick defensive midfielders. With Mike Nugent gone as the starting goaltender, look for Tyler Boardo to be a potential favorite as the starter come the start of the season, with Brian Bedell and William Trieschman also competing. Sophomores Will Beecham and Kiel Brennan are the two main face-off takers.
With Mercer releasing their schedule, the SoCon becomes the eighth conference to have all their teams release their schedules.
To see every team’s schedule and which one’s we’ve highlighted, check our our master schedule list.