After an aggresive but scoreless first half, the Lady Bears struck first, handing the Gamecocks just their second loss of the season on Friday night. The Bears scored off a corner kick in the 67th minute to give them the lead going into the latter part of the game. JSU struck back in the 82nd minute with a beautiful ball into the box by Kaitlin Manns off a free kick from the left side to Kelsey Bright to even the score at 1-1 with 8 minutes remaining.
The tie was short-lived; however, with Mercer regaining the lead in the 85th minute with a strike from the top right corner of the penalty box into the left corner of the net. That would be the last goal as a few last-ditch efforts by the Gamecocks fell short, resulting in the 1-2 final score.
After the game, Coach Carlson stated she planned to keep the women focused on the grueling upcoming OVC schedule after the last non-conference game would be in the books over the weekend. She said one of the things to keep them focused was the loss and the fact that the last two non-conference games were tough going into the OVC schedule.
"These are two games that they needed to set themselves a foundation for what they're to expect in the OVC. They're competitive matches, they're grueling, they're very physical," said Coach Carlson. "They're very fast, and what's important for them is that they have to learn how to play quicker, they've got to play the game faster, they've got to make decisions in very tight situations.
"Our kids know how to win, they've learned how to win, they know how to take the moments that they have to put the game away and make the most of them," said Coach Carlson, who added that having the two games over the weekend would keep them grounded for the upcoming conference schedule.