BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – With a College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin outright regular season championship on the line, the Illinois Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team secured a 19-18, senior day victory over Carthage College Saturday, April 29. The Titans finish the regular season 12-3 overall, with an unblemished, 6-0, CCIW record. With the loss, Carthage falls to 11-5 overall, 3-3 in CCIW action. The two teams will face off in the CCIW Tournament Semifinals Thursday, May 4. IWU, the No. 1 overall seed, will host the contest.
Junior Trystan Seeley (Castle Rock, Colo.-Castle View) led the Titan offense with team-highs of five goals and seven points, a new career-best. Senior Carson Kiichle (Vancouver, Wash.-Skyview) notched six points on a team-best six assists. Senior Connor Kiichle (Vancouver, Wash.-Skyview) and junior Bob Boone (Los Angeles, Calif.-Notre Dame) each posted four points, both using three goals and an assist to do so.
Defensively, senior Mason Barney (New Haven, Ind.-R. Nelson Snider) recorded a team-leading two caused turnovers, while six other Titans finished with one. Sophomore Nick Schroeder (Waunakee, Wis.-Waunakee West) led the Green and White with nine ground balls, while Barney scooped up a career-high seven, and Connor Kiichle added six. At the X, Schroeder went 23-for-37.
Junior Alex Oximana (Seattle, Wash.-Bishop Blanchet) picked up the win between the posts to improve to 2-1 on the season. Oximana recorded 11 saves while allowing seven goals in 29:43 minutes of action. Sophomore Colin Tervo (West Linn, Ore.-West Linn) added six saves in 30:17 minutes.
Carson Kiichle found brother Connor Kiichle at the 14:37 mark to open the scoring in favor of the home team. Carthage equalized the score at 1-1 with 10:55 remaining in the first period, then took the lead with 7:04 left.
Senior Logan Heinchon (Dripping Springs, Texas-Dripping Springs) used a dish from Carson Kiichle to knot the score at two apiece nine seconds later, followed by a goal from freshman Noah Dretzka (Delafield, Wis.-Kettle Moraine) put the Titans back out in front, 4-3, with 6:11 left in the first period.
Carthage tied the match at 4-4, but IWU closed out the first period of action with three straight goals from Boone, Seeley, and junior Ike Eastburn (Colorado Springs, Colo.-Cheyenne Mountain) to take a 7-4 lead.
The Firebirds combated with three straight goals to open the second period, once again bringing the score to a tie, 7-7, with 11:21 remaining in the first half. IWU took advantage of a penalty, as Seeley buried a shot off a pass from Carson Kiichle to push the Titans out in front, 8-7, at the 10:46 mark. The game would see back-and-forth action between the two squads, until the Green and White posted two straight goals to take a 10-8 lead. Carthage cut the lead to one, but Boone pushed the lead back up to two with 1:12 left in the first half. The Firebirds recorded a buzzer-beater shot to cut the lead to one, 11-10, to finish the first half.
Carthage opened the second half of the contest with two straight goals to take a 12-11 lead, but it would prove to be the last time the Titans would trail in the match. Dretzka equalized the score at a dozen, then Seeley fired a shot at the 10:16 mark to put the Green and White back in front, 13-12. Carthage neutralized the score, but the Titans closed out the third period with goals from junior Gage Black (Peoria, Ill.-Dunlap), Seeley, and Connor Kiichle, to up the score to 16-13, with 15 minutes left to play.
Freshman Karsten Nordlie (Roscoe, Ill.-Hononegah Community) notched his first collegiate goal to push the lead to four at the 13:29 mark in the fourth quarter. The four-point lead proved to be enough, as the match would see the teams trade off goals, and a last-minute push by Carthage would not be enough, as the Titans hung on to a 19-18 victory.
The two teams will meet again inside Tucci Stadium, Thursday, May 3, for a spot in the CCIW Tournament Championship. Game time will be announced shortly on iwusports.com and cciw.org.