No. 9 University of Mount Olive saw a two-goal lead erased in the second half as No. 1 Limestone College went on an 11-0 run as the Trojans fell 15-6 in the Quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Men's Lacrosse Championship. Mount Olive finishes the year with the program's first-ever trip the NCAA Championship.
Mount Olive (13-5) lost the opening faceoff and Limestone (20-0) started the game on offense. With 13:25 left in the opening quarter, Mike Messenger used a bounce shot to get past the Trojan keeper for the first goal of the game.
Messenger responded for the Saints with 11:09 remaining as he scored an unassisted goal to give Limestone the lead. Mount Olive took a little longer to respond the second time as It took just under five minutes before the equalizer was once again scored.
Limestone picked up back-to-back penalties and gave Mount Olive a two-minute power play opportunity with 7:11. The Trojans drove in two shot attempts in the power play, however, neither found back of the net. Nico Shewey found space with seconds left on the power play and picked up a pass from Matt Shields and scored with 5:13 left in the first quarter.
The Trojans got the ball back after a failed shot attempt by Limestone with 3:49. Mount Olive was able to get the clear and set up the offense. Jesse Mitchell put Mount Olive ahead with 3:03 as he scored off a pass by Jacob Ball.
Ball himself added a goal for the Trojans in the second quarter with 13:45 and Mount Olive led 4-2.
The Saints responded with 4:34 left in the quarter as Messenger scored a man-up goal. Limestone added another quick goal off the stick of Brendan Smith and the game was tied with 4:16.
Luke Morris checked a ball loose and the Trojans picked up the groundball and the cleared the ball successfully with 2:40. Matt Shields notched his first goal of the game with 1:52 and Mount Olive was back on top 5-4.
Bowman recorded a save with 11 seconds left before the half and pushed the ball up the field. The Trojans sprinted across the field and Ryan Morris beat the Saints keeper before the horn to push Mount Olive up 6-4.
Limestone got the first goal of the third quarter as Messenger scored with 11:59. The tying goal came in moments later as Messenger scored a man-up goal with 10:32.
Chris Clancy put Limestone in front 7-6 with nine and a half minutes to play in the third quarter following a shot attempt and save by the Trojans.
Limestone extended the lead to three after goals by Charlie Sheehan and Smith and the Saints went up 9-6 with 3:14 left in the third quarter. The Saints added another goal as Anthony Quiles picked off a Mount Olive pass and Vinny Ricci finished off the attack with a goal and the lead moved to four.
The Saint did not allow Mount Olive back in the game as they ended the game on what ended up being an 11-0 run in the second half.
"We had a great first half, but unfortunately, couldn't sustain it in the second half. Still I'm really proud of our season and especially our senior class," said Head Coach Mike Murphy.
Mount Olive ends the season ranked in the top-25 in several categories in Division II. The Trojans were ninth in team scoring defense. Ross Bowman was ranked eighth in goals-against average with 8.23 goals allowed per game. Matt Shields, the leading career goals holder at Mount Olive, was 19th in Division II in man-up goals. In the face-off X, Tyler Feniello ranked 25th in face-off winning percentage.