LISLE, Ill. – A dominant third quarter propelled the Illinois Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team to a 19-10 win at Benedictine University Tuesday night, Feb. 28. The Titans picked up their first win of the year to move to 1-2, while the Eagles dipped to 0-2.
The Titans used a six-goal run in the third quarter that extended into the fourth en route to the win. Carson Kiichle (Vancouver, Wash.-Skyview) led the Titans with a whopping nine points on six goals and three assists. Junior Bob Boone (Los Angeles, Calif.-Notre Dame) added a hat trick and an assist, while juniors Gage Black (Peoria, Ill.-Dunlap), Trystan Seeley (Castle Rock, Colo.-Castle View), and Ike Eastburn (Colorado Springs, Colo.-Cheyenne Mountain) added one goal apiece.
Sophomore Jake Gisi (Wentzville, Mo.-Chaminade College Prep) finished with a team-high nine ground balls, while Carson Kiichle and sophomore Nick Schroeder (Waunakee, Wis.-Waunakee) scooped up seven each. Schroeder also went 18-for-29 in faceoffs, as IWU finished 22-for-33 as a team.
Defensively, nine different players recorded a caused turnover. Sophomore Colin Tervo (West Linn, Ore.-West Linn) made 11 stops in between the posts.
The Titans struck first as Boone found Black for his first goal of the season just 29 seconds in. The quick score came right after a win by Schroeder on the game’s first face off, which was scooped up by Gisi and ultimately set the stage for Black’s goal.
Benedictine responded with goals at the 11:37 and 10:11 marks in the opening quarter to push ahead, but Illinois Wesleyan stormed right back. After goals by freshman Noah Dretzka (Delafield, Wis.-Kettle Moraine) and Logan Heinchon (Dripping Springs, Texas-Dripping Springs), Eastburn forced a turnover on a BU clear attempt and immediately connected with Carson Kiichle for a goal. The score, which came with 2:09 to play in the first, gave Illinois Wesleyan a 4-2 lead after 15 minutes of play.
Benedictine evened the score at five with 11:06 to play before Boone wrapped around the crease and buried a shot for his third goal of the night, reclaiming a 6-5 IWU lead. Boone struck again a minute and a half later, scoring the first two of five straight goals by the Titans. The run also featured goals by Eastburn, Black, and Carson Kiichle as Illinois Wesleyan broke open a 10-5 advantage.
The Eagles scored three in the final 1:32 of the half to trim the Titan lead to two, 10-8, at halftime.
The Green and White came out firing in the third period, rattling off five goals to take control. After Carson Kiichle scored to open the half, he was on the receiving end of an assist from his twin, Connor Kiichle (Vancouver, Wash.-Skyview). Freshman Andrew Ortega (Austin, Texas-Westlake) then connected with Carson Kiichle, before Gisi notched his first goal of the season on an assist from Black.
Carson Kiichle tacked on his sixth goal of the night to put IWU in front, 15-8, into the final period, where IWU maintained the lead to take the win, 19-10.
A busy week continues for the Titans inside Tucci Stadium Thursday, March 2, as IWU takes on Milwaukee School of Engineering at 7 p.m. The Green and White then remain home Saturday, March 4, for a 12 p.m. bout with Whittier College.