Mercer And FAU Advance To TAAC Men's Soccer Finals

November 5, 1999

Jacksonville, Fla. - Second seeded Mercer University (11-6-2, 4-2) and fifth seeded Florida Atlantic (10-8, 3-3) posted victories in the semifinal round of the 1999 Trans America Athletic Conference (TAAC) Men's Soccer Tournament on Friday afternoon at Jacksonville's Ashley Sports Complex. Mercer downed third seeded UCF (12-7, 3-3) by the score of 3-0 in the first semifinal, while FAU defeated top seeded, and host, Jacksonville (12-5-1, 5-1) by the score of 2-0 in the second semifinal of the day.

In game one, Mercer jumped on the Golden Knights early when sophomore Neil Zarac headed home a corner from classmate Maxwell Rooke at 4:54. From that point on, the Bears and Knights played the majority of the first half in the midfield and the score remained 1-0 at the half. Mercer built their lead to 2-0 at the 61:38 mark when a Rooke corner was headed on by sophomore Salvatore Chillemi to an open Stephan Wennstrom, whose header to the near post beat the UCF goalkeeper.

The Bears put the game away at 85:10 when a long clear by senior Robert Gibbon found Zarac in the offensive third of the field. Zarac collected the Gibbon pass, beat a UCF defender to the touch-line, and then scored his second goal of the game. With the victory, Mercer ended the Golden Knights seven game winning streak and established a new single-season school record for victories (11).

In game two, Florida Atlantic and Jacksonville battled to a scoreless tie at the half. Both teams had opportunities to score in the half, but neither team was able to capitalize. FAU's offensive fortunes changed at 64:11 when a free-kick from freshman Patrick Slettman found the head of senior Stephan Johansson at the six to give FAU the game's first goal. Protecting their 1-0 lead, sophomore Federico Santana gave the Owls a two goal cushion when he scored off and assist from senior Daniel Nilsson. Despite increasing the offensive pressure from there, JU was unable to beat the FAU defense for a goal. The 2-0 decision in favor of the Owls was the second FAU victory over the Dolphins this season.

With the victory, FAU advances to the 1999 TAAC Men's Soccer Championship game at 11:00 A.M. where they will face Mercer.