Merino strikes early as Patriot Men hold off Mount Olive

Merino strikes early as Patriot Men hold off Mount Olive

FLORENCE, SC – Sophomore Adrian Merino buried a penalty kick in the first minute to help the Francis Marion University men's soccer team defeat the University of Mount Olive 1-0 in a non-conference match on Wednesday evening (Sept. 26) at Hartzler Field.

FMU (2-4-0) returns to Peach Belt Conference action Saturday (Sept. 29) with a road match against Flagler College at 5 p.m. The Patriots will return to Hartzler Field on Saturday, Oct. 6 for a PBC contest against the University of North Georgia at 7 p.m.

Francis Marion started fast, as senior Oliver Drakenhammar stole the ball from the Mount Olive defense and charged into the penalty area. Drakenhammar was fouled, and the Patriots were awarded a penalty kick just 29 seconds into the match.

Merino stepped up and buried it for his first goal of the season, and second of his FMU career. The goal was the second-fastest in school history, behind Michael Ritch, who scored 24 seconds into a match against Barton College in 1999.

The Trojans (3-2-1) responded a minute later with an opportunity of their own, but junior James Lang's shot glanced off of the left post and stayed out.

At the 38:43 mark, the match officials stopped the contest due to lightning. The teams resumed play following a delay of a little more than an hour.

FMU had a great chance to go up by a pair right before halftime, but freshman Rory Monks was denied by Mount Olive freshman goalkeeper Austin Porter in a one-on-one situation.

In the 54th minute, the Trojans created a pair of chances to tie it up. Freshman Alfie Pope had a point-blank shot attempt blocked, and Lang had a follow-up chance stopped by FMU freshman goalkeeper Kristoffer Gregenaes to keep the Patriots lead intact.

Francis Marion nearly went up by two at the 68:24 mark, but freshman Yannick Grader had a close-range effort stopped by Porter, then saw a second attempt slide just wide.

Drakenhammar won a second penalty for the Patriots in the 73rd minute. The senior took it himself, but was denied by a sprawling Porter, who then stopped Drakenhammar's follow-up effort seconds later to keep it 1-0.

Junior center back Matthew Bainbridge made his first start of the campaign and played the full 90 minutes, as did defensive partners junior Julian Kersting and freshman Michael Bah, to help Gregenaes record his second clean sheet of the year.

For the evening, the Patriots outshout the Trojans 21-11, and held an 8-6 advantage in corner kicks.

Gregenaes made a career-high five saves in the Francis Marion net, while Porter recorded nine saves for Mount Olive.

In his first career start, Monks led Francis Marion with four shots on target.


Post-match comments from FMU head coach John Campbell


Francis Marion Univ. (2-4-0) def. Univ. of Mount Olive (3-2-1) 1-0
Date: Sep 26, 2018  Attendance: 162
Weather: Mostly Cloudy,89,Winds WSW @ 9 mph

Goals by period          1  2  Tot
Univ. of Mount Olive   0  0 -  0
Francis Marion Univ.  1  0 -  1

1-0.   0:29 FMU Adrian Merino (1) Penalty kick - down the middle

Shots: Univ. of Mount Olive 11, Francis Marion Univ. 21 ; Saves: Univ. of Mount Olive 9 (Austin Porter 9), Francis Marion Univ. 5 (Kristoffer Gregenaes 5)
1 hour lightning delay