BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – A goal from junior Gage Black (Peoria, Ill.-Dunlap) just over a minute into overtime sealed the Illinois Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team’s 16-15 come-from-behind win over Whittier College Saturday afternoon, March 4, inside Tucci Stadium. The Titans (3-2), who won their third straight game, trailed the Poets (0-3) by as many as six in the contest.
A three-goal run to start the second quarter gave Whittier its largest lead of the afternoon, 9-3, with about six minutes to play in the opening half. Bob Boone (San Diego, Calif.-Notre Dame) got the Titans rolling, burning by his defender and tucking a shot under the crossbar to break the Poets’ run.
Carson Kiichle (Vancouver, Wash.-Skyview) then found junior Ike Eastburn (Colorado Springs, Colo.-Cheyenne Mountain), a former Poet, for a goal with 4:31 left in the period. After Carson Kiichle cashed in for a goal of his own on an assist from Connor Kiichle (Vancouver, Wash.-Skyview), Boone found junior Trystan Seeley (Castle Rock, Colo.-Castle View) to pull IWU within two, 9-7.
Whitter ended IWU’s four-goal run, scoring in the final minute, to take a 10-7 lead into the break.
After trading goals back and forth for a majority of the third quarter, Carson Kiichle found Eastburn to trim the deficit to two, 12-10. Boone later took advantage of a man-up opportunity, feeding Black for the score with 1:38 left in the period to pull back within one, 12-11, going into the fourth.
Whittier came out strong in the final 15 minutes of regulation, scoring the period’s first two goals to charge ahead, 14-11.
A key caused turnover by the Titan defense at midfield set the table for a goal from Black before the Kiichle brothers teamed up for a goal to cut the deficit to one, 14-13, with under five to play.
The Green and White evened the game at 14 all with 4:37 left in regulation as Black spun around his defender and buried the equalizer.
The tie stood until Whittier’s Luke McElligott found Iha Kalwin with 1:43 on the clock, as the Poets claimed a late, 15-14, edge.
Down to their final seconds, a man-up opportunity for IWU saw the Kiichle brothers connect once again. Carson Kiichle hit Connor Kiichle for the game-tying goal, forcing OT.
In the extra period, Illinois Wesleyan wasted little time getting to work. Sophomore Nick Schroeder (Waunakee, Wis.-Waunakee) maintained his stronghold at the X and quickly had the Titans charging into their attacking end. A shot by Boone soared high, but Whittier was called for a penalty, providing IWU with another man-up opportunity. Carson Kiichle gave a pass up to Black, who fired the game-winner past the WC goalie to secure the win.
Carson Kiichle stuffed the stat sheet with a hat trick and six assists for a team-high nine points, while also adding three ground balls and a caused turnover. Black added a team-best five goals and was credited with five ground balls.
Illinois Wesleyan saw a near-perfect performance from Schroeder at the X, as the sophomore went 31-for-35 with a team-high 15 ground balls. Seeley added six ground balls, including a key scoop up on the OT faceoff, while sophomore Jake Gisi (Wentzville, Mo.-Chaminade College Prep) added five.
Sophomore Colin Tervo (West Linn, Ore.-West Linn), junior Michael Campagna (Arlington Heights, Ill.-St. Viator), and senior Blake Muschewske (Excelsior, Minn.-Holy Family Catholic) tied for the team lead with two caused turnovers apiece. Tervor and Campagna were also credited with four ground balls each.
IWU held a 76-39 lead in shots, including a 36-26 advantage in shots on target. The Green and White went 9-for-11 in clears, while Whittier finished 18-for-27.
The Titans are off until hitting the road for their spring break trip out east. IWU will take on Dickinson College Saturday, March 11, at 12 p.m. ET before battling Oberlin College Tuesday, March 14.