BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – A ferocious second-half comeback by the Illinois Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team fell short Sunday afternoon, Feb. 19, inside Tucci Stadium. IWU (0-2) scored eight goals over the final 30 minutes, but fell to Rhodes College by a final score of 17-13.
Junior Ike Eastburn (Colorado Springs, Colo.-Cheyenne Mountain) paced the Titan offense with six goals, while freshman Noah Dretzka (Delafield, Wis.-Kettle Moraine) added three goals. Junior Carson Kiichle (Vancouver, Wash.-Skyview) dished out a team-best six assists as he topped IWU with seven points.
Junior Trystan Seeley (Castle Rock, Colo.-Castle View) topped the team with seven ground balls, while Carson Kiichle added six. Four Titans finished with two caused turnovers apiece as Ethan Hart (Littleton, Colo.-J.K. Mullen), Connor Kiichle (Vancouver, Wash.-Skyview), senior Blake Muschewske (Excelsior, Minn.-Holy Family Catholic), and sophomore Tyler Crawford (Cary, Ill.-Prairie Ridge) tied for the team lead.
Making his first collegiate start, sophomore Colin Tervo (West Linn, Ore.-West Linn) finished with a career-high 18 saves. His career-best are tied for the eighth-most in a game in program history.
At the x, IWU finished 16-for-23. Freshman Michael Rocco (Libertyville, Ill.-Libertyville) led the way, going 10-for-14 and scooping up four ground balls.
Each team finished with 50 shots apiece, while Rhodes put 35 on target and IWU put 31 on frame. The two squads finished even in saves (18) and turnovers (20). Rhodes finished 19-for-27 in clear attempts, while Illinois Wesleyan went 19-for-22.
The Lynx charged out to an 11-3 lead in the second quarter, before Dretzka found the back of the net off a pass from Carson Kiichle with 6:41 left in the half. Freshman Karsten Nordlie (Roscoe, Ill.-Hononegah Community) then fed Eastburn near the crease to trim the deficit to six, 11-5, at the break.
After a third period that saw each team score three goals, Illinois Wesleyan headed into the final period looking to overcome Rhodes’ 14-8 advantage.
Eastburn kicked off the fourth with a goal, his fifth of the day, off a rebound. Rocco won the ensuing faceoff, ultimately leading to a goal from Seeley to bring IWU within four, 14-10.
Following a shot off the post and a Rhodes save, the Lynx ended Illinois Wesleyan’s scoring run with a goal at the 7:56 mark. The goal proved to be the first of three in-a-row for Rhodes, which claimed a 17-10 advantage over IWU with 6:13 left.
Junior Bob Boone (Los Angels, Calif.-Notre Dame) connected with Dretzka for a goal before forcing a RC turnover that led to Seeley’s second goal of the afternoon. Another win at the x by Rocco and an IWU timeout set the stage for Eastburn’s sixth goal of the game with 1:07 left to play.
The Lynx held off the Titans from there to hand IWU a 17-13 setback.
Illinois Wesleyan has a lengthy break before traveling to Lisle, Ill. Tuesday, Feb. 28, for a 6 p.m. bout against Benedictine University.