MACON, Ga. (School Release)- Freshman goalie Mike Nugent set a program single-game record with 20 saves as the men's lacrosse team dropped a 12-9 decision to Jacksonville at the Tony and Nancy Moye Football and Lacrosse complex. Mercer finished the season at 4-8 while Jacksonville improved to 8-4 on the year.
Six different Mercer players found the net in loss, led by junior attackman Cole Branch's three goals. Nugent's 20 saves pushed his season total to 161, establishing the program's single-season record.
Mercer got on the board first as Branch assisted freshman Chris Baxa just over three minutes into play. Jacksonville would add a pair of scores later in the quarter to take a 2-1 lead into the second stanza.
The Dolphins registered the first goal of the second quarter, but Mercer exploded for five goals during the frame to take a 6-5 lead into intermission. Mercer's five scores marked the third time this season the team has registered five or more goals in a period. All five goals were scored by different players, as Baxa, Branch, sophomore Timmy Geran, freshman JT Del Tufo and sophomore Justin Evans all contributed goals.
After the break, Mercer was held scoreless for the first 23 minutes of the second half as Jacksonville went on a 6-0 run to go ahead 11-6 with less than seven minutes to play. Branch got a Mercer rally started with his second goal of the game at the 6:53 juncture of the fourth, and two more Mercer scores cut the deficit to two (11-9) with 2:11 to play.
Evans won the ensuing faceoff, but a costly turnover gave Jacksonville possession with two minutes left. The Dolphins eventually added an insurance goal with 46 seconds left to ground Mercer's comeback bid.
Baxa's two goals elevated his program record single-season total to 33. His 2013 campaign also set a new program standard for points in a season, as the Owings, Maryland native closed the year with 43 (33g, 10a).
Evans won 13-of-24 face-offs and also collected a game-high nine ground balls. All told, Jacksonville finished the game with a slight 38-35 edge in ground balls.