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MX News Update 2024

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Illinois Wesleyan defeats Aurora to advance to NCAA second round

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – A big third quarter lifted the Illinois Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team to a 14-10 victory over Aurora University in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament on Wednesday afternoon, May 8, at Tucci Stadium. IWU (14-3) advances to the second round of the national tournament, where the Titans will face Tufts University in game one of the Schenectady, NY pod, hosted by Union University.

Senior Gage Black broke the deadlock with a man-up goal after an assist from senior Trystan Seeley before senior Brendan Baumgarten scored his fourth goal of the season, unassisted, with less than eight minutes to play in the first at the Green and White to take the lead 2-0. After a key save from junior Nick Horrocks and an extra diving attempt from senior Alex Oximana, Black ripped a long-range shot through two defenders to give IWU a 3-1 lead to end the quarter.

Junior Jake Gisi’s quickball move to junior Sam Weinberg carried the momentum into the second quarter, giving IWU a 4-1 lead just 15 seconds in as Weinberg scored his 28th goal of the season. The Spartans got a pair back to bring the score within one with less than 10 minutes to play in the half. A crucial save from a retreating Oximana stopped Aurora’s equalizer, but the Spartans recovered with another attack to level the board at 4-all.

Senior Logan Gelling lofted a pass to senior Ike Eastburn in top position for a sharp shot to regain the lead, but a Spartan goal three minutes later would tie the score at 5.

Black battled a defender before finding Seeley open for the goal to give IWU a 6-5 lead. Less than a minute later, junior Sam Skelton scored on a Weinberg helper. Eastburn scored the Titans’ third straight goal in the third quarter to give IWU an 8-5 lead. A pass from freshman Timothy McHugh from behind the net left Weinberg open in front with enough space to score a low goal and advance 9-5. Eastburn doubled the score at 10-5 after catching a high pass from sophomore Noah Dretzka just outside the crease and scoring the goal. IWU held a 12-5 lead in the final quarter after goals from Weinberg and Black extended Titan’s lead.

Aurora opened the fourth quarter with a five-goal run as the Spartans pulled their goalie back to defend. Seeley found the open net to break the point and maintain the 13-10 lead. Weinberg came back with less than a minute to play for a goal to give IWU the four-point cushion.

Weinberg led all players with six points on the team’s best four goals, along with two assists. Black finished with four points via a trio of goals and a helper, while Seeley and Eastburn scored three points each. Seeley’s scored a hat-trick, while Eastburn scored two goals and an assist.

At the Senior Zo Lombardo added two wins in six matchups for the Titans.

Senior Ethan Hart grabbed a team-best 10 ground balls, breaking his previous career-high. After Rocco’s eight, Weinberg finished with seven, rounding out the top three for IWU. Hart also led the defensive end, as he tied for a team-high three and created a turnover alongside sophomore Kade Miers. Skelton and fellow junior Tyler Crawford each caused the Spartans to commit two miscues.

During the second half, junior Colin Tervo picked up his 13th win, the third most in a season in program history. In 30 minutes of action, Tervo made three saves. Oximana added five saves in the first 30 minutes while scooping one ground ball.

Illinois Wesleyan travels to Schenectady, NY, to play Tufts on Saturday, May 11 at noon ET. The action will be played on Frank Bailey Field at Bertagna-Class of 1985 Stadium.

 

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The College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) was founded in 1946 and currently serves nine member institutions, including Augustana College (Rock Island, Ill.), Carroll University (Waukesha, Wis.), Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.), Elmhurst University (Elmhurst, Illinois), Illinois Wesleyan University (Bloomington, Illinois), Millikin University (Decatur, Illinois), North Central College (Naperville, Illinois), North Park University (Chicago, Illinois), and Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois).