MACON, Ga. – Jacksonville State dropped its season opener to Mercer, 2-0, on Friday at Bear Field on the MU Campus.
After a 38 minute defensive struggle in which both teams combined for five shots in the opening half, the Bears broke through for the first goal of the match after Emerald Phillips capitalized off a long ball from Patricia-Anne Upson.
JSU (0-1) had ample scoring chances in the second half as it posted seven of its final nine attempts in the final 45 minutes. Freshman Courtney Hurt, one of four freshmen making their collegiate debuts, led the Gamecock attack with three of her four shot attempts in the second period. Katie Manns finished with a pair of shot attempts.
"We were not in control of the game from the beginning," said head coach Julie Davis Carlson. "We started creating scoring chances in the second half. I Thought Courtney (Hurt) played well, we know she can score and she will get better with time."
The Bears (1-0) added an insurance goal in the 71st minute as Casey Barrett connected on a rebound in the box off a free kick from Olivia Tucker. The Orange and Black finished with 15 shot attempts. Led by Barrett and Washida Balckman's trio of attempts.
"They (Mercer) took advantage of the momentum swing after we could not capitalize on our chances in the second half," added Carlson.
The goalkeeper tandem of Katelyn Geddings and Ali Koenig combined for five saves in the opening match.
Kaitlyn Gregory,Brianna Salverda and Jessica Monahan each made their collegiate debut, earning a start in the contest.
The Gamecocks continue their season-opening road trip on Sunday against Middle Tennessee State. Game time is set for 2 p.m. on the MTSU campus.
"Middle Tennessee State and Mercer are very similar teams except for some personnel in some areas and they will be another test for us," mentioned Carlson.