Men's Soccer Drops 2-1 Decision To Mercer At 2016 Big South/SoCon Challenge

Men's Soccer Drops 2-1 Decision To Mercer At 2016 Big South/SoCon Challenge

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Gardner-Webb fell behind early to an athletic Mercer squad Sunday afternoon at Snyder Field, losing a 2-1 decision in the finale of the 2016 Big South/SoCon Challenge.

The Runnin' Bulldogs (1-2-0) saw the Bears get on the board in the 21st minute, when Max Poore headed home his second goal of the season off a cross into the box.

Mercer (3-1-0) added to its lead at the 26:24 mark, with Jordan Duru taking an assist from Poore and finishing on a shot from the top of the box for a 2-0 lead.

Ali Al-Gashamy had a pair of chances later in the half, getting off a shot in the 43rd minute that was turned away by Mercer's Jeremy Booth. Al-Gashamy had two earlier opportunities in the half, getting off a shot at 7:33 that sailed wide and putting a shot on frame at 10:57 that was saved by Booth.

Mercer had three more shots on goal after taking its 2-0 lead, with Matthew Swan saving a trio of opportunities between the 30th and 34th minute.

Gardner-Webb continued to battle throughout and Al-Gashamy pulled the match back within striking distance when he drew a foul in the box in the 50th minute. The redshirt senior slotted the ensuing penalty kick to trim the margin to 2-1 with plenty of clock remaining.

The Runnin' Bulldogs held the Bears' offense down the rest of the way, but were unable to pull even.

Swan made a tremendous save late in the match to keep the 'Dogs within a goal, turning away a penalty kick chance.

The physical match saw 30 total fouls whistled.

Mercer outshot the Runnin' Bulldogs by a 19-8 margin, but less than half of those chances (8) were on frame. Gardner-Webb put four of its eight shots on goal.

Al-Gashamy had four of Gardner-Webb's shots, with three of his attempts on frame. Marvin Mendy, Sami Jilla and Simen Olsen also had shots, with Mendy putting his attempt on goal.

Swan had six saves between the posts in 90 minutes.

Gardner-Webb will get back to action next Saturday, traveling back to Spartanburg, S.C., to take on USC Upstate. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 pm.