Mount Olive rallied from four behind in the second period, but Catawba held the Trojans without a goal for almost 15 minutes in posting a 14-10 non-conference men's lacrosse decision Wednesday afternoon in Salisbury, N.C.
The Trojans (1-1) got off to a quick start as goals from Blake Bennett and Matt Shields gave Mount Olive a 2-0 lead 4:32 into the match. Bennett's goal was unassisted and took just 45 seconds to put his team in front. Twice in the contest Catawba put the Trojans on the defensive for more than 10 minutes at a time. After Shields' goal, the Indians took command, scoring five consecutive goals.
Adam Hebert and Tom Cullop evened the score with a pair of unassisted markers for Catawba, then John Scheich delivered a natural hat trick, scoring three consecutive goals to give Catawba a 5-1 lead in the final minute of the first period.
Mount Olive stopped the bleeding momentarily as Jordan Herrman scored with 18 seconds left in the first. Catawba answered in the second on a man advantage goal by Matt Symes and a fourth marker from Scheich for a 7-3 advantage.
Facing its first deficit in the program's history, Mount Olive slowly clawed its way back. Daniel Shields delivered his eighth goal with 11:39 left in the half on an assist from Jake Duarte, then Bennett struck again less than a minute later. After eight minutes dominated by the goalkeepers, the Trojans pulled within 8-6 at intermission on a Matt Shields goal assisted by his brother Daniel.
The momentum continued into the third period for the Trojans as Daniel Shields scored less than two minutes in, then assisted on a goal by Matt Shields to tie the match 8-8.
Mount Olive was never able to get over the hump, however, and Catawba took command again, holding the Trojans without a goal for 14:32. By the time Cameron Walsh found the back of the goal, the Indians had rebuilt their four-goal lead.
Despite the loss, the Trojans played the Indians evenly. After the first period, Catawba held just a 24-22 advantage in ground balls, and Mount Olive outshot the Indians 32-28 over the final three quarters.
Matt Shields recorded his second consecutive hat trick for the Trojans, scoring three times on four shots on goal. Daniel Shields added two goals and four assists, Bennett added a pair of goals, while Walsh and Duarte delivered one apiece. James DiMartino and Sean Shewey had five ground balls apiece.
In goal, Rocky Bowman finished with 10 saves, while facing 42 total shots.
Mount Olive returns home Saturday to face Wingate University at Amon Field beginning at 2 p.m.