MACON, Ga. - Needing a result in the worst way, the Mercer men's soccer team received a goal from senior Ehjayson Henry in the 87th minute to capture a 1-0 win over in-state rival Georgia Southern to close out the Mercer Tournament on Sunday evening at Bear Field.
Mercer (1-4) has now beaten Georgia Southern (2-3) six-straight times dating back to 2007 and ends a four-match losing streak with the win.
The Bears out-shot the Eagles 23-8 and held a commanding 13-2 advantage in corner kicks in the match.
Neither team was able to seriously threaten on the offensive side of the ball as the game remained tied at 0-0 heading into halftime.
The Bears best chance of the first half came in the 31st minute of play when Henry settled down a cross and was unmarked on the far side of the box, but his shot sailed high over the net to keep things scoreless.
Mercer got the break it needed in the early stages of the second half thanks to a Georgia Southern mistake. Senior Nick Lane came in low and late on a tackle in the 53rd minute and was red carded for the infraction, leaving the Eagles with only 10 men for the remainder of the contest.
The Bears took full advantage of the fact, peppering Georgia Southern goalkeeper Neal Bates with 14 shots in the second half.
Mercer finally found the back of the net in the 87th minute of play when Henry back sealed a defender to steal the ball. The Harris Village, Saint Kitts native then dribbled toward goal and beat Bates with a shot into the upper left 90 of goal to give the home team a 1-0 win.
Bears goalkeeper Greg Ranjitsingh made four saves on the night to record his 15th career shutout, passing Ron Keller (1981-84) for the most career shutouts in program history.
Mercer returns to action on September 18 when it hosts Gardner Webb. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Bear Field.
Order of Finish in 2013 Mercer Tournament
1. Winthrop (2-0-0)
2. Mercer (1-1)*
3. Georgia Southern (1-1)
4. Stetson (0-2)
*Mercer earns the second-place finish due to its head-to-head win over Georgia Southern
2013 Mercer Tournament All-Tournament Team
(MVP) Magnus Thorsson- Winthrop
Jordi Lluch- Winthrop
Max Hasenstab- Winthrop
Achille Obougou- Winthrop
Brady O'Brien- Mercer
Greg Ranjitsingh- Mercer
Ehjayson Henry- Mercer
Neal Bates- Georgia Southern
Josh Ward- Georgia Southern
Steven Saballos- Stetson
JJ Bostic- Stetson