Mercer draws Coastal Carolina in NCAA tournament

The Mercer soccer team watches the NCAA selection show on Monday. (Mason Prince, WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- The Mercer men's soccer team gathered on Monday afternoon to watch the NCAA tournament selection show and find out who their first round match up will be. The Southern Conference tournament champions will take on the champions of the Sun Belt, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

The Chanticleers are 12-6-1 overall this season and will host the Bears in Conway, S.C. on Thursday.

"We're excited to obviously be in the tournament," said Mercer head coach Brad Ruzzo. "It's our second year in a row and we definitely have that feeling of that loss last year at South Carolina. We thought that we played really well. I had a feeling that it was going to be Coastal Carolina. So we have an idea on them but we're looking forward to going up there and finding out a little bit about them and we're looking to advance to be honest with you."

Mercer senior Will Bagrou netted the game-winning goal in penalty kicks against UNCG on Sunday and he's ready for the challenge that the Chanticleers present.

"It's a good match up for us," said Bagrou. "We're excited about going to the tournament for the second year in a row. Last year it didn't go our way, a heartbreaking loss to South Carolina, so hopefully things go our way this year and we can get the result we want."

Mercer goalkeeper Jeremy Booth made the critical saves in penalty kicks to keep the Bears alive in the SoCon championship. The feeling is a unique one.

"It's hard to describe," said Booth. "It's something we've been setting goals for the entire season and to be able to get back to the NCAA tournament two years in a row it's a first for Mercer so it's a great feeling."

Mercer and Coastal Carolina will battle for the right to play Clemson.

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