Thirty-one days ago, Stetson and Mercer met in a regular-season contest and the Hatters came away with a 5-1 home victory against the Bears in which they led 4-0 at halftime. Fast forward to the 2010 A-Sun Championship Semifinal showdown between the two and a different story was to be told.
“That Stetson loss was a real big eye-opener for us and ever since then we knew we had to come out and play our hardest in every single game,” All-Atlantic Sun defender Kacie Hudson mentioned of the earlier loss to the Hatter.
This time, the Bears dominated the opening half behind three goals from All-Conference members Olivia Tucker and Sarah Elliot as well as junior Emerald Phillips to give Mercer the upper hand and ultimately enact revenge for the earlier loss.
“We were just ready to have another shot at them and we came in extremely prepared for them and the result is exactly what we were dreaming about,” Hudson added.
After adding two more goals in the second half from the feet of Tucker and Elliot, the Bears
claimed the largest margin of victory in an A-Sun Championship game since 2000.
“This win serves as a little bit of redemption for the team because we had a bit of a dip in the middle of the season and we knew that wasn’t an example of the type of team we are,” Serafy stated of the three losses from Sept. 24th to Oct. 3rd. “I give the players a lot of credit because they overcame a lot of adversity and they showed a lot of hard work and enthusiasm at the end of the season.”
The 5-0 victory now sets up head coach Grant Serafy and the Bears for their third A-Sun Championship Final appearance in the past four seasons, where they are winless in program history. For a team that boasts seven seniors on the roster, the two losses in the championship game are still fresh in their memory and this time they expect to be on the winning end.
“We set a goal for ourselves at the beginning of the year to capture the A-Sun Championship,” Hudson proclaimed. “To make it to the finals in previous seasons was great, but this season we are looking to take the championship home.”
The Bears now get their shot to claim the school’s first A-Sun Women’s Soccer Championship after falling in 2007 to Kennesaw State, 2-1, and Belmont the following year in penalty kicks.
The two-goal scorer, Tucker added, “We just have to win, there is no other thing that I want than to win the conference championship.”