In the final game of the Purples Classic Saturday, Sept. 1, the Titans soccer team faced the Spartans of South Warren High School (5-1-1).
It was the fourth game in 48 hours for Mercer. To make things more difficult the team was without two of their regular starters Landon Souder and Daniel Steele, both suffering ankle injuries.
“We have had a different line up or formation for the last several games due to injuries,” said Mercer Assistant Coach Tim Shannon.
The Titans controlled the game from the opening kick off, dominating possession and setting the match’s pace. Mercer sophomore Matthew Raskin opened the scoring with a perfectly arched chip shot that caught Spartan keeper Kenny Wilson off guard for the goal in the 17th minute of play.
Raskin made his presence known again in the 42nd minute on an assist to Nathan Sheehan, putting the Titans up 2-0.
Six minutes later, Alex Bosse collected a rebounded shot and beat the out of place Wilson giving Mercer a three goal lead eight minutes into the second half. Mercer closed out the final 32 minutes without conceding or scoring another goal getting the win, 3-0.
The Titans led in all offensive categories, out shooting the Spartans 18-3 and 7-1 with shots on target and 6-4 in corners earned. The win was not enough to overcome their loss to Louisville Male who advanced from their pool.
“This was a great weekend for us, we gained a lot of confidence in playing without Souder and Steele,” said Mercer Head Coach Matt Vogel. “We had players step up and take charge and others gave valuable relief minutes. This will make such an impact in our post season performance.”
The Titans faced a struggling Elizabethtown team (1-7) in the second game of the Purple’s Classic Saturday, Sept. 1.
After a slow start for Mercer, Bosse stepped up, collecting a deflected shot off Panthers keeper Alec Fields and finding the back of the net, putting the Titans on top 1-0 in the 19th minute. Ten minutes later senior striker Matt Gammon scored on a similar play sending the Titans into the half leading, 2-0.
Mercer continued to control possession in the second half with much of play taking place in the Panthers third of the field. A corner played in by Titan James Stinnett in the 46th minute lead to Bosse’s second goal of the match. Bosse completed his hat trick two minutes later giving Mercer a 4-0 lead.
In the 59th minute Jawan Smith connected with Chase Barnett in the Panthers penalty box for Mercer’s fifth score of the game. Ty Byrd gave the game its final score in the 80th minute beating Fields and giving Mercer the win, 6-0 and breaking their two game losing skid.
“This was what we needed,” said Shannon. “We were able to get everyone substantial clock, giving our starters some rest after the past two battles with Collins and Male.”