Mercer wins SoCon, punches ticket to NCAA tournament

The Mercer men's soccer team claimed their second straight SoCon title on Sunday afternoon. (Mercer Athletics)

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The Mercer men's soccer team needed penalty kicks, but the Bears are moving on to the NCAA tournament for the second straight season. Mercer beat UNC Greensboro 3-2 on penalty kicks to win their second straight Southern Conference tournament on Sunday afternoon.

The No. 4 seed in the tournament, the Bears jumped on top of UNCG thanks to a goal from Jake Mezei in the 14th minute. Eleven minutes later the Spartans would tie the contest at one and that's where the score would stay through regulation and two overtime periods.

Through five shots for each team, the game was tied at two goals apiece. Keeper Jeremy Booth was sensational, saving two shots that would have ended Mercer's season if they hit the back of the net. With their season and NCAA tournament hopes on the line, Mercer turned to who else but Will Bagrou to try and end the game. For the second straight game, Bagrou came through. His goal gave the Bears the 3-2 win, their second straight SoCon tournament title, and their second straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

Mercer will hear who they will match up against in the first round of the NCAA tournament on MOnday at 1 PM during the selection show. The Bears lost to South Carolina 1-0 in the first round of last year's tournament.

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