VMI men’s soccer drops SoCon opener to Mercer, 1-0

vmi_logo2Make its return to the Southern Conference after a hiatus of over a decade, the Virginia Military Institute men’s soccer program hosted Mercer University to Patchin Field. The Bears scored in the 21st minute, a goal which held in the programs’ SoCon openers.

Airrion Blackstock sent in a long cross from near midfield, which connected with Jordan Duru. The latter pushed the goal in in the 21st minute, his second of the season. Despite the Bears (5-4-0, 1-0-0 SoCon) outshooting VMI 24-4, it was the only tally of the day.

Facing all the Bears’ firepower was junior keeper Alex Guerra, who finished his afternoon with 11 saves, stopping six attempts in the first half and another five in the second half. Guerra’s opposite, Greg Ranjitsingh, made one stop to earn the win.

Duru was the main piece of Mercer’s offense, taking seven shots, three of which were on goal. Thomas Glenn contributed four shots as well, while Chandler Klemm managed three chances. Four different Keydets took attempts, with Chris Spates putting the lone effort on goal.

Mercer took six corner kicks on the afternoon, with five chances coming in the first half. The Keydets (1-6-1, 0-1-0 SoCon) earned a pair of corners, both in the second half. Fouls were fairly even through the game, with VMI called 14 times, while Mercer was whistled 12. No cards were issued during the contest.

The Bears jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute as Blackstock sent in a long cross from near midfielder to a waiting Duru. The latter potted the goal, which stood up for a 1-0 halftime score.

Mercer applied pressure early in the game, out-shooting VMI 13-2 over the first 45 minutes. The Bears put seven of those chances on frame, but were stopped six times by Guerra. Mercer took five corner kicks in the opening stanza, while VMI was not afforded any. The Keydets committed five fouls in the first half, while Mercer was whistled three times.

VMI keeps things in state as the Keydets head down Interstate 81 for a Tuesday night match at Virginia Tech. VMI and the Hokies square off at Thompson Field with a 7 p.m. kickoff in non-conference action.

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