Two high-powered offenses squared off in Don Shula Stadium on Saturday in a matchup of the John Carroll University men’s lacrosse team and Illinois Wesleyan University.
Expectations did not match the outcome.
The Blue Streaks’ defense put forth an outstanding effort, but the offense could not follow suit, leading to a 11-7 home loss on Saturday afternoon.
The Blue and Gold entered the contest with a 4-3 mark following a one-goal loss to Albion College on March 23. Hungry for a win entering conference play, the Blue Streaks played host to the Titans, one of the top offensive teams in the nation.
The cold weather matched the limited scoring in the first quarter. Michael Julius started off the scoring in the first with a goal at the 11:40 mark of the period, granting Illinois Wesleyan an early advantage. The score remained 1-0 until MacGregor Roberts responded for JCU with 4:17 left in the first, notching his third tally of the season with an assist from Collin Rice.
Less than two minutes later, James Maibuecher scored for the Titans, giving the hosts a narrow advantage heading into the second stanza.
The teams could only manage one goal apiece in the second quarter, a quiet time for both offenses. Julius struck again for the Titans before Declan O’Grady netted a goal for the Blue and Gold at the midpoint of the second. Heading into the third quarter, the Titans possessed a narrow 3-2 lead.
After a quiet start, the Titans came out of the break firing on all cylinders in the second half. Roberts started the scoring, but Julius, Evan Mok-Lamme and Jacob Perry scored three straight goals to up the Illinois Wesleyan lead to 6-3.
The Blue Streaks attempted to fight back, as a Gary Anile touched the twine at the 4:29 and 3:20 marks of the third to keep the score within two. However, the Titans thwarted every JCU comeback opportunity. Tim Smith and Perry pushed the contest out of reach early in the fourth quarter with clutch goals. O’Grady and RP Whitty managed tallies in the final stanza, but Nick White and Maibuecher also scored to prevent a JCU victory.
Thanks to solid defense, the Titans held on for an 11-7 victory, advancing to 7-3 on the season. Julius led all scorers with three goals and three assists, while Anile led the pack for the Blue Streaks with two markers and two assists. Sophomore Carl Roman had 10 saves on the day for JCU.