Mercer Lacrosse has something to prove in season opener

The Mercer Lacrosse team kicks off its season on Saturday at home against Vermont/(Cam Gaskins, WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- This Saturday is a date on the calendar that Mercer Lacrosse players have had circled for months. Saturday's season opener at home against Vermont not only brings the thrills and excitement of a new season, but also a chance to get even from last season.

Last year, Vermont beat Mercer 13-12 in an overtime thriller that saw the Bears blow a 10-7 lead in the fourth quarter at home.

That loss has not been forgotten by any player on the Bears' roster.

"Yeah, we're coming for them (Vermont)," senior Will Deines said. "We'll come for any team the same way, but we're ready. Season opener, there's always a little more hype to it."

Head coach Kyle Hannan is hoping that intensity carries through the entire season.

"We want to finish this year," Hannan said. "Last year there were a few games similar to Vermont where we had fourth quarter leads and didn't win those games. I think the guys are anxious and ready to play Vermont."

Mercer is also trying to prove their pre-season projection was an undersell. The SoCon pre-season poll had Mercer projected to finish seventh in the conference this year, ahead of only Virginia Military Institute.

Even though coach Hannan tries to keep that noise out of the locker room, some of the players took notice. Senior Scott Baird says he's ready to prove that ranking was wrong.

"Well coach kind of says we don't need to worry about it too much, but personally I kind of take it as a chip on my shoulder," Baird said. "You never want to come into the season underranked, or at least worse than you think you are. I think we're gonna have a good year, we're not too worried about the ranking, but yeah of course it gives us a chip on our shoulder."

Mercer's season starts on Saturday when they welcome Vermont to 5-Star Stadium in Macon at noon.

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