MACON, Ga. (fgcuathletics.com) – A pair of Eagles goals within the last four minutes of the second half proved to be the difference maker as FGCU (3-0-1) defeated 2021 SoCon champions and NCAA Tournament qualifier Mercer (2-2-2), on Sunday evening at Betts Stadium. The Eagles will return to action on Friday, Sept. 16 as they open ASUN play at Jacksonville (2-2-1).
Graduate forward (Savanna-La-Mar, Jamaica/North Florida) delivered the first goal of the match for the Eagles with a header that was assisted by junior midfielder (Palmetto, Fla./Virginia Tech) that stunned the keeper. In the second half senior Davi Alves (Belo Horizonte, Brazil/West Florida) tied the match with a shot off a pass from graduate midfielder (Sydney, Australia/Seattle) that connected into the left side of the net.
With under a minute remaining in the game, graduate forward (Sydney, Australia./UNLV) received a pass into the box from junior midfielder (Lauderhill, Fla./Coral Glades HS) to score the final goal of the match.
"What a game, to go on the road, play down a man in both games and still get both results in the ultimate testament to the heart and character of this team," said head coach Jesse Cormier. "They're a brotherhood that refuse to give in even in the most dire circumstances. Mercer are warriors, conference championship, NCAA tournament caliber team, to come back and find a way to win tells everyone what ambition is this season."
Overall, FGCU had 18 shots with nine on goal while Mercer had nine shots with seven on target. The game saw a total of seven yellow cards issued throughout the afternoon with the Eagles picking up four and Brown being issued a red card and ejected from the game at 72:20 due to receiving a yellow card just seven minutes before.
Mercer opened the scoring very quickly in the seventh minute as Michael Ille sent a penalty kick strike that connected to the back of the net. Junior keeper Wyatt Kistner (Midlothian, Va. /Cosby HS), who has earned three shutouts this season, was unable to save it and the Bears took the 1-0 lead.
The Eagles valiantly attempted to get on the scoreboard with two shots from Kyra followed by a shot each from senior (Anchovy ST James, Jamaica/Cornwall College), (Herzliya, Israel/Nomi Shemer), freshman (Or, 'Aqiva/Israel) and graduate student (Starnberg, Germany/LSUE).
With approximately 1:03 left on the clock for the first half, Brown scored the equalizer to head to the locker room tied at one. In the second half both teams came out firing with two shots on goal before Brown was ejected from the game. The Bears capitalized and scored as Angel Gonzalez took a pass from Kadeem Agard and pushed the score to 2-1 at the 80th minute.
With a man down FGCU responded six minutes later as Alves scored to once again even the match, 2-2. Exactly three minutes later Mercer was shocked as Hammond passed the ball into the box and Kyra buried it in the left side of the net to seal the victory.
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The ASUN, a Division I conference member of the NCAA, boasts a membership of institutions that share visionary leadership, bold ambition and creative innovation. As a nimble adaptive conference, unafraid to blaze a national pathway for better service to our student-athletes, teams, and institutions, the ASUN has a proud history of firsts, national academic and athletic achievements and a conference culture that walks the walk with its four ASUN Beams. Students First! Rise. Connect. Impact. #ASUNBuilt by Austin Peay (Clarksville, Tenn.), Bellarmine (Louisville, Ky.), Central Arkansas (Conway, Ark.), Eastern Kentucky (Richmond, Ky.), FGCU (Fort Myers, Fla.), Jacksonville (Fla.), Jacksonville State (Jacksonville, Ala.), Kennesaw State (Ga.), Liberty (Lynchburg, Va.), Lipscomb (Nashville, Tenn.), North Alabama (Florence, Ala.), North Florida (Jacksonville, Fla.), Queens (Charlotte, N.C.) and Stetson (DeLand, Fla.).