Jacksonville Storms Past Mercer on Senior Day

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - With one quarter to play in the final home game of the season, Jacksonville finally found the spark it needed on Saturday against Mercer. The timing couldn't have been better. Going into the fourth quarter trailing 10-7, the Dolphins swarmed the field in the closing 15 minutes, scoring seven goals, winning the majority of face-offs and forcing three Mercer turnovers. The result was a come-from-behind 14-12 victory that tied Jacksonville (3-7, 2-1 Atlantic Sun) and Mercer (6-5, 3-1 A-Sun) in the loss column in the conference standings. With the win, JU holds the edge in seeding over the Bears for the conference tournament in three weeks' time if the Dolphins can win out.

The first quarter provided a blueprint for the tough road that lay ahead of Jacksonville, as the Dolphins went ahead three times in the quarter, and Mercer answered back on each goal. In his final home game, senior David Goldman opened the scoring with an assist from Rob Moore for a 1-0 lead at the 11:47 mark of the first. Later, it was Tom Moore with his first goal of the day, an unassisted effort, and Dakota Rohlin - fresh off his A-Sun Offensive Player of the Week award - adding one inside the final two minutes. Nevertheless, when Cole Branch took a feed from Timmy Geran and scored with 1:08 to go, the score was knotted at 3-3.

Things began to turn south for JU in the second quarter. Mercer began with three straight goals to take a 6-3 edge, and there were less than three minutes remaining in the quarter before Duncan Clancy could snap the run with an unassisted goal that momentarily cut the Bear lead to 6-4. But inside the final two minutes of the half, Mercer added on a pair of goals and led, 8-4, at the halftime break.

A fired-up Jacksonville squad emerged early in the second half, reeling off three straight goals from Clancy, Goldman and Rob Moore to draw within one at 8-7 with just over six minutes gone in the quarter. At that point, all the momentum was with the Dolphins, but Mercer managed to fend off the JU push with scores from Branch and Zack Ward to take a 10-7 lead into the final quarter.

No doubt the Bears were hungry for a knockout punch against the Dolphins, but JU and the Moore brothers in particular were undeterred. Rob Moore started the quarter by going high to beat Mercer keeper Mike Nugent over his right shoulder, making it 10-8. Moments later, Tom Moore beat Nugent after taking a pass from Rohlin.

Back in it with those two goals, Jacksonville was on the wrong side of a questionable decision on the ensuing face-off. A wild scramble ended with a one-minute penalty on Rob Moore and the Bears took advantage of the man-up opportunity with Branch flicking in his fifth goal of the game off a feed from Chris Baxa to regain a two-goal advantage with 12:57 to play. But that's when Jacksonville stepped on the gas.

Rohlin brought the Dolphins a little closer with 11:39 to play after Clancy delivered him his team-leading 11th assist of the season. Finally, with 9:24 to play, Jacksonville was back level for the first time in more than 30 minutes of game action as Tom Moore cashed in a man-up goal from Rohlin following a slashing call on Mercer defender Colin Massa.

Tom Moore and Rohlin combined again with 7:20 to play to put Jacksonville on top, and when Clancy found the back of the net with 6:02 to play, the Dolphins had their largest lead of the game. The final push from Mercer came swiftly. Winning the face-off, the Bears moved upfield and scored with just less than five minutes remaining to make it 13-12.

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2014-04-12



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