An epic top-15 battle turned into an instant classic Wednesday afternoon.
Braydon Hickey won’t soon forget it.
Neither will his University of Mount Olive lacrosse teammates.
With a delivery slicker than a used car salesman, Hickey fired a perfect strike into the net just 43 seconds into overtime and lifted the Trojans to a heart-stopping, 11-10 victory.
Ranked No. 8 in the latest USILA Division II poll, UMO collected its second straight one-goal decision of the season and remained perfect in five outings. Colorado Mesa entered the game No. 14 and had yet to see live on-field action.
“I think it was good for our team in the long run because we needed to face some adversity, learn how to play with a team like this, be able to take some punches and punch back,” Hickey said.
“I think we did just that.”
The Mavericks turned a 3-3 deadlock into a 9-4 advantage barely 3 1/2 minutes into the third period. Part of the six-goal surge occurred when a UMO player received a three-minute penalty that allowed CMU to capitalize on its man-up advantage.
The Trojans answered with a game-changing, 6-0 run that started on Connor Watson’s goal off of an assist Aidan Lalonde early in the third period.
Watson completed his hat trick with two fourth-quarter goals, including the go-ahead shot with nine seconds left in regulation. Hickey, Samuel Skousen and Blake Tallon also contributed to the stirring comeback.
“I think it started with our defense, made a couple of quick stops and got us the ball and a couple of our leaders on offense really started to settle us down,” Hickey said. “We started to move the ball a lot better and our shots just started falling.”
CMU’s Cole Emmanuel forced OT on a goal with one second left.
“It was a little bit nerve wracking because we had just scored to go up [one goal] with nine seconds left,” Hickey said. “For them to come back down and score, but I knew if we got a possession, our offense was really rolling at that point and I knew we’d put the game away.”
In the extra four-minute session, Watson fired a shot wide.
Emmanuel drew a flag for an illegal body check and received a one-minute penalty. Maverick goalie Mogi Watson saved a shot by Lalonde (four goals) on the man-up advantage, but lost control of the ball.
Hickey did the rest.
“[The ball] popped out of his stick and was bouncing along the crease. I just happened to pick it up and throw it in the cage,” Hickey said. “It was a crazy feeling to score that goal and get the win for the guys.”