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June 15, 2024 12:54 am

UMO secures third straight conference title over Belmont Abbey

WILSON – After scoring three straight goals in the fourth quarter, the Trojans pulled away late to secure their third consecutive Conference Carolinas Women’s Lacrosse Championship with an 11-9 victory over Belmont Abbey on April 30 at Truist Stadium.

With the win, the University of Mount Olive women’s lacrosse team closes the year with a 14-5 overall record behind another perfect run through conference play and the league tournament. The Trojans complete the three-peat after defeating the Crusaders in the championship game in all three years. Meanwhile, Belmont Abbey finishes with a 12-7 record after entering the league tournament as the No. 2 seed.

Zoe Dougherty was named the tournament MVP for her performance, while graduate student Alexis Stanley, graduate student Morgan Paige, freshman Madison Dow and senior Payton Youngblood were all selected to the all-tournament team

The Crusaders scored the initial goal of the game on a free-position opportunity to take a 1-0 advantage at the 13:29 mark. Just over 30 seconds later, Dougherty tied the game at 1-1 off a pass from teammate Bria Hamilton. After a defensive stand from both sides that stretched over 10 minutes without a goal, the Crusaders regained the lead 2-1 with 4:32 remaining the first quarter. Mount Olive responded just under a minute later with a free-position goal from graduate student Ali Davis to knot the contest at 2-2. With 1:55 left in the first, the Trojans took their first lead of the game as Davis netted her second goal of the game, 3-2.

To begin the second quarter, sophomore Rileigh White stretched the advantage to 4-2 at the 13:10 mark before the Crusaders answered back quickly to cut the deficit to 4-3. Over the next two-plus minutes, UMO scored three straight goals to extend the lead to 7-3 as junior Logan Hibbard, Hamilton and graduate student Meagan Maxwell all registered goals. Belmont Abbey responded with three consecutive goals to close the second quarter, as the Trojans held a 7-6 lead at the break.

In the second half, the Crusaders tied the contest at 7-7 midway through the third quarter before grabbing the lead on a man-up opportunity to take an 8-7 edge at the 4:01 mark. With only 19 seconds left in the third quarter, Davis completed her hat trick to enter the final quarter knotted at 8-8.

Early in the fourth, Youngblood dodged her defender on a free-position chance to put the Trojans back in front, 9-8. Just over 90 seconds later, Hamilton scored her second of the game to extend the advantage to 10-8 before White netted the final goal for UMO to stretch the lead to 11-8. Belmont Abbey managed to close the gap to 11-9 with just over three minutes remaining before the Mount Olive defense secured the championship win

Senior Claire Hagen delivered an outstanding performance in the cage by collecting 11 saves, including five in the fourth quarter, to seal the win.

Dougherty finished the game with one goal, three ground balls, one caused turnover and 10 draw controls. Davis tallied a hat trick, while Hamilton totaled three points on two goals and an assist. White also produced two goals in the final, while Maxwell finished with a goal and an assist.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics