10/20/05 — Mount Olive downs Knights

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Mount Olive downs Knights

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on October 20, 2005 1:58 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive's men's soccer team may not get any style points for their 3-1 win on Wednesday afternoon over St. Andrews in Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference play.

But, with the regular season winding down and the Trojans in the thick of the league tittle race, coach Jerry Riggs and Mount Olive will take positive results any way they can get them.

The regionally fifth-ranked Trojans (11-4-1 overall) improved to 6-2 in the CVAC with two conference matches left -- at home against Lees-McRae and at Barton on Oct. 29. Mount Olive, winners of three of its last four, entered Wednesday's match as one of four teams with two losses or less in the conference.

Regionally ninth-ranked St. Andrews (7-7) fell to 4-4 in league play.

"You've got two teams today battling to finish in the top four. Everything is so tight," Mount Olive coach Jerry Riggs said. "We're all battling. With two more games to be played, this is a good way to start it off."

In a physical game with a combined 37 fouls, crisp possession play was rare. The Trojans scored twice in the first half on dead-ball situations to take a 2-1 lead into halftime.

Less than three minutes into the match, Matt Hobbs headed in a pass on an indirect kick from Adam Caston to put Mount Olive on the board. The Trojans are now 23-0-2 in the last two years when scoring the first goal.

Nearly 20 minutes later, the Knights answered when Jamin Ferris booted a long free kick from nearly 40 yards out, then the ball took a big bounce over Trojan goalie Chris Roush to tie the game at 1-1.

The Trojans took the lead for good with 10 minutes left in the first half as Reid Clewis, one of the top scorers in the CVAC, capitalized on a penalty kick after being fouled in the box for this eighth goal of 2005.

"We gave up a cheesy goal, but the guys bounced back and were able to score with an attitude," Riggs said.

Mount Olive's defense, anchored by Chris Brown and Brandon Mills, played solid through the game, limiting St. Andrews to six shots. The Trojans have now limited 11 of 16 opponents to one goal or less.

Caston tallied the lone goal of the second half and his fourth of the season on a double-assist from Chris Varela and Reid Clewis.

"The third goal was the exclamation point," Riggs added.

Roush finished with two saves for Mount Olive as Knights goalie Nick Stevens grabbed three saves.

Saturday's game against Lees-McRae is slated for a 3 p.m. start.

"Hopefully this is the time of the year when we peak. I still don't think we've peaked," Riggs said. "We have the chance to be a very dangerous team, but right now we haven't done what I feel like we are capable of doing."