LEXINGTON, Va. - Trailing just 6-5 at the half, the VMI lacrosse team was unable to pick up consistent rhythm in the second half as the visiting Mercer Bears left Drill Field No. 2 with a 16-8 victory over the Keydets Saturday afternoon in Lexington.
The Keydets (3-4, 0-3) fell behind by a goal in the opening period but matched the Bears (1-7, 1-1) in the second quarter to yield the halftime score of 6-5. From there the Keydets struggled to match Mercer's intensity as the Bears scored 10 goals in the final two quarters while the Keydets were only able to notch three more in the second half.
Mercer proved dominant in faceoffs by winning 23 of 28 attempts to secure possession of the ball and limit VMI scoring opportunities on the other end. The Keydets also had four penalties in the game that the Bears were able to convert into two extra-man goals that helped shift momentum into Mercer's favor in the third quarter. With additional offensive opportunities the Bears outshot the Keydets by a 63-43 margin, and 22-4 count in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Ryan Perouty led VMI with three goals on the day while Josh Bass contributed two. Michael Santos, Johnny Daniel and Jon Fant also put in goals for the Keydets.
Jake Priester led the way for the Bears with three goals with Nick Rockefeller, Will McCarthy and Mikey Ewing each putting in two scores. Mercer goalie Josh Tarver picked up the win with 12 saves while VMI's Benjamin Stump was given the loss despite 13 saves before he was relieved in the fourth quarter by Bill Osteen.\
The Keydets will take a break from Southern Conference action next week on the road where they will face Hampton University Saturday at 2 p.m. in Hampton, Virginia.