Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – The Whittier College Men's Lacrosse team had a tough trip to Illinois battling tough conditions as they dropped both games to Illinois Wesleyan and Aurora.
Game 1 (Illinois Wesleyan; L, 24-9)
The first match-up with Illinois Wesleyan was tough for the Purple & Gold. Whittier did however put the Titans on their heels early scoring four of the first five goals of the contest from Sigi Ocker (San Francisco, Calif.), Conner Dee (Collegeville, PA), and Nate Heritage (Bellingham, WA).
But quickly after Illinois Wesleyan gathered themselves rallying to score the next six goals to swing the momentum, while moving the score to 7-4. Ryan Crawford (San Clemente, Calif.) stopped the bleeding with 2:14 to play in the frame but WC still saw themselves trailing 7-5.
The second quarter was all Titans as they outscored Whittier 5-1, which included five in a row to take a 12-6 lead at the break. Heritage and Dee combined for a 1-2 back-to-back to open the third cutting the deficit to five but over the final 10:00 minutes IWU would go on a 4-1 run that extended the lead back to eight.
In the fourth, the Poets found it tough to score as IWU would continue pouring it on outscoring WC 7-0 in the frame.
Whittier was outshot on the game 58-27 and were held to single digit shots over the last three quarters. They were 8-of-15 on clear attempts and were 0-3 on man-up opportunities. Ocker led the offense totaling four goals. Heritage added three with a couple groundballs. Conner Sexton (San Jose, Calif.) added two assists and four groundballs and Dee registered a goal, two assists and four groundballs. Defensively, Max Thiele (San Diego, Calif.) led the unit collecting three caused turnovers and three groundballs and Max Lepley (San Clemente, Calif.) added two caused turnovers.
In goal, Alex Cramer (Rocky Hill, CT) picked up the loss finishing with 13 saves against 37 shots. He also picked up three groundballs.
Game 2 (Aurora; L, 15-7)
Whittier finished their trip taking on Aurora University and again they found themselves having to come from behind. The Spartans jumped out to an early 9-0 lead after the first quarter of play. They tacked on the first in the second quarter until the Poets found their offense scoring three of the final four tallies in the frame coming from Ocker, Heritage, and Billy Shaffer (Tucson, AZ).
The Poets trailed 11-3 at the break and saw the deficit stretch to 12 after being shutout in the third. Over the final 15:00 minute period, Whittier put together a comeback outscoring the Spartans 4-0 thanks to Heritage, Ryland Clay (Aurora, CO), and Sexton, but the final push wasn't enough to complete the road win.
Whittier was outshot 48-31, was just 4-for-26 on faceoffs, was 20-for-26 on clear attempts, and picked up 24 groundballs.
Heritage finished with three goals to lead the offense. Shaffer added a goal and two assists and Sexton added a goal and assists with a couple groundballs.
For the goalies, Austin Mann (Santa Ana, Calif.) led the trio finishing with seven saves playing 45:00 minutes.