MACON, Ga. – The Stetson women’s soccer team gave up a first half lead as Mercer defeated the Hatters by a score of 2-1 in an Atlantic Sun Conference match in Macon on Sunday afternoon.
“Today we had a lot of chances, and we were just missing that killer mentality to put a second goal in,” Stetson head coach Manoj Khettry said. “Either it was the quality of our cross, the quality of our run into the box, or our shot was off target.”
Stetson (6-8-2, 4-3-1) outshot Mercer (9-6-2, 4-2-1) by a mark of 16-14 for the game and both teams recorded four corner kicks. The Hatters were on target all day, forcing Nikki Atkinson and Cristina Mursuli to make a combine nine saves in the match.
It free chance, however, that put Stetson on top in the first half. Freshman Mara Keomanivane scored her second goal of the season on a penalty kick in the 17th minute after freshman Paige Law worked for the PK moments earlier.
“Paige put good pressure on their back so they had to play it to their goalkeeper,” Khettry said of the play. “Paige kept on it, ripped the ball off, beat the goalkeeper to the ball, played it by her, and the keeper brought her down in the box.”
Keomanivane’s goal held up throughout the period, giving Stetson the lead at the break. Mercer was able to come out and tie the game just 15 minutes into the second period.
The Bears’ Sadie Curry was able to find space and chip a ball over Stetson goalkeeper Amber Law to tie the game in the 61st minute. Washida Blackman and Jordan Sink received assists on the play.
It was less than nine minutes later that Mercer took the lead that they did not relinquish. Lauren Gassie played a ball off to Kim Murphy on a short corner kick. She then beat Law over the top to make it 2-1 in favor of the Bears in the 70th minute.
Mercer held on for the victory thanks to eight second half saves by Mursuli. Law finished with one save in her first career start, playing for the injured Victoria Troccoli.
“Of the eight teams we’ve played in the league, we have been competitive with every single one of them,” Khettry said of his team. “Our three losses have all been by one goal. We’ve been in every single game.”
Stetson will hope to keep that trend going on Saturday, playing host to Florida Gulf Coast in the regular season finale. The Hatters and the Eagles are scheduled to kickoff at 5:00 p.m. at the Athletic Training Center.