GREENVILLE, S.C. (Nov. 10, 2017) – In a hard fought battle until the end, ETSU came up one penalty kick short in a 4-3 loss to Mercer in the SoCon semifinal round Friday afternoon in Greenville, S.C.
With the upset, the top-seeded Bucs were eliminated from the tournament.
After a scoreless draw through 110 minutes, both teams headed to penalty kicks. The Bucs missed the first shot and would fall behind after Mercer’s first make. Freshman Danny Barlow (Newcastle, England) put ETSU on the board first to tie the shootout, 1-1.
After falling behind 2-1, junior goalkeeper Jonny Sutherland (Chester, U.K.) helped his own cause with a penalty kick make of his own to tie the shootout back at 2-2. Senior defender Chase Clack (Memphis, Tenn.) answered another deficit with ETSU’s fifth and final kick to bring the score back to 3-3. Mercer’s final shot made the difference, helping the Bears advance to the final.
The turning point in the game came a little later with just over two minutes to go in regulation, as an ETSU foul in the box resulted in a penalty kick for Mercer’s Trenton Whitley. With a chance to lose a scoreless draw with little time remaining, the Bucs held strong.
Sutherland dove right and with an outstretched glove and rejected the shot, giving ETSU a second wind heading into overtime. Sutherland registered four saves in the battle of keepers, while Mercer’s Jeremy Booth also recorded four.
After attempting just two shots in the first half, the ETSU offense picked up the pace with nine shots in the final 65 minutes. Senior forward Fletcher Ekern (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Barlow each took three shots to lead the offense.
ETSU’s best chance in regulation came with 12:00 to go, Clack picked up the pieces from an ETSU corner and headed a shot on target. A dual effort by Mercer goalkeeper Jeremy Booth and one of his defenders kept the ball inches away from crossing the goal line to keep the game tied.
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