MARS HILL, N.C. – The Lions outscored North Greenville 4-0 in the fourth quarter to obtain an 11-8 victory over the Crusaders Wednesday night in the Ammons Family Athletic Center and Meares Stadium. There was also a lengthy lightening delay beginning in the middle of the third quarter. Mars Hill improved to 5-7 on the season while NGU fell to 6-8 overall.
Dima Ferreira led the Lions offensively with three goals and one assist followed by Nathan Stewart, Alex Lipsky and Hunter Maggs who added two goals apiece. Stewart also recorded five ground balls, three caused turnovers and one assist. Connor Fernandes supplied his teammates with four assists in the win. Ryan Kearney played all 60 minutes in goal for MHU and made 10 saves and picked up five ground balls.
Jake Foster led the Crusaders with five goals and one assist while Austin Dixon had two goals and the same number of assists. Braeden Dixon also played the entire game in the net for NGU and made seven saves.
NGU outshot the Lions 29-24 and won the ground ball battle, 41-28. However, the Lions were very efficient on their shot percentages. The Crusaders won 17-23 face-offs. Mars Hill was 1-2 on extra-man opportunities while NGU was 0-1.
Mars Hill jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first quarter. Stewart scored at the 12:21 mark off a pass from Fernandes and then Maggs found the back of the net with 5:54 left in the first period on an unassisted goal. Lipsky then recorded back-to-back goals at the 2:35 and 1:21 mark to give the Lions a 4-0 advantage. Ferreira and Stewart assisted Lipsky's first quarter scores, respectively. The Crusaders answered scoring three consecutive goals in the second frame. North Greenville's Foster scored two of the goals and assisted the other score in the stretch. Ferreira extended the Lions' lead to 5-3 with 5:22 left in the second quarter. Spencer Andrews provided the assist on the Lions' fifth goals of the contest. Foster notched his third goal of the half with 2:37 left in the second quarter on an unassisted goal to send the teams into the locker room at halftime with the Lions holding a 5-4 lead.
Mars Hill outshot NGU 13-12 in the first half. The Crusaders won the first half ground ball battle, 17-12 and won 8-11 first half face-offs.
NGU scored two quick goals to start the second half and take a 6-5 lead with 12:36 left in the third quarter. A goal by Stewart at the 9:02 mark tied the game at 6-all. Then with 8:08 remaining in the third quarter, the game was halted due to lightening in the area and play was suspended for 79 minutes.
After the delay, the teams traded two goals apiece over the next 12 minutes of play before Chase Pretti-Pearsall notched what would later prove to be the game winning goal (9-8) with 9:44 left in regulation. Jake Trafton assisted the game winning score. Andrews and Ferreira added two insurance goals down the stretch to make the final tally 11-8 in favor of the Lions.
Mars Hill set new team season highs in shot percentage (.458) and on-goal percentage (.750). Fernandes set a new season high for individual assists in a single game (4).
Mars Hill will play at Brevard on Saturday, April 22. Game time is set to begin at 7 p.m.