FORT MYERS, Fla. (School Release)- The Mercer men's soccer team battled into extra time, but a goal by sophomore Santiago Echeverri in the 95th minute sealed a 1-0 overtime win for Florida Gulf Coast in the 2012 Atlantic Sun Championship title game on Sunday afternoon at the FGCU Soccer Complex.
Mercer ends the season with an 11-7-2 overall record, its most wins in a single-season since also tallying 11 victories in 2004.
Mercer had an early quality chance in the fourth minute of play when a corner kick by freshman David Murtaugh went right to senior Will Betts, whose mid-air volley caromed off the post and back into play.
The Bears had another scoring opportunity in the 32nd minute when junior Ryan King ran onto a free kick from midfield and got a diving header off that was corralled by FGCU goalkeeper Nathan Ingham to keep the score knotted at 0-0 going into halftime.
The Eagles came out of halftime with their best scoring chance of the game so far, but Mercer goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh made sure the game stayed scoreless. Back-to-back shots in close by sophomores Donovan Henry and Federico Crespo in the 51st minute of play were stopped with diving saves by Ranjitsingh to keep the game tied at 0-0.
The Bears had one more chance in regulation, but Murtaugh's turning pivot shot was rifled just wide of the left post to keep the score tied at 0-0 after 90 minutes of play.
For the second time in three days, both Mercer and FGCU faced an overtime scenario in the A-Sun Championship, and it would be the Eagles that came out on top in the end. An Eagles winger sent in a cross that Echeverri deflected past Ranjitsingh into the back of the net to give FGCU a 1-0 win and second-straight A-Sun Championship.
Ranjitsingh made four saves in the game while Ingham stopped two shots in the win. Shutter, Ranjitsingh and sophomore Carl-Oscar Andersson were named to the All-Tournament team in postgame ceremonies.
Today's game was also the final collegiate contest for Betts, Shutter and fellow seniors Richie Edmondson, Sharpe Sablon, Bryson Jones and Vaughn Thomas.