AURORA, Ill. – In a game Concordia University Wisconsin needed to win in order to have a chance for a home game in the Midwest Lacrosse Conference Tournament, host Aurora University spoiled those plans with a 14-8 victory on Wednesday night.
The Falcons trailed by just two goals at halftime, but the Spartans tallied four goals in each of the third and fourth quarters to pull away for the win. CUW entered the night playing for a decision in its favor and to knock off its league foe to the south, having known it had already clinched a spot in the MLC Tournament.
It was a tale of two halves, as the Falcons held a 20-11 shot advantage in the first 30 minutes of play before the Spartans offense woke up and led 24-11 in shots during the final two quarters. Nearly every statistical category was even, however, CUW was unable to take advantage of Aurora's penalties and converted just 2-of-8 chances with a man advantage. The Falcons entered the game ranked as the top team in the nation in man-up percentage.
Aurora began the game with three-straight goals before CUW's Marino Best marked a man-up goal with three minutes to play in the opening quarter. The Falcons would cut the deficit to a goal, 5-4, with eight minutes before halftime. From then on it was all Spartans, as they scored seven of the next eight goals, including five-consecutive to build an insurmountable 12-5 lead with 10:27 remaining in the game.
Best (junior, Nanaimo, British Columbia) added another man-up goal for the Falcons late in the game to finish with a hat trick, while senior Derek Brueske (Hopkins, Minn.) added four goals and two assists of his own. Senior David Mueller (Prior Lake, Minn.) scored a lone tally in the second quarter. Goalkeeper Thomas Mueller (junior, Prior Lake, Minn.) picked up a game-high seven ground balls and made six saves.
CUW entered the game causing 8.4 turnovers on average per game and managed to caused just four Aurora errors. Junior Danny Bundra (Lake Zurich, Ill.) won 12-of-22 faceoffs and picked up six ground balls, while junior Zachary Doll (Kirkwood, Mo.) picked up a career-high six ground balls.
Max Obriecht paced the Spartans with five goals and Nolan Miller recorded a trio of scores. Garrett Rosiek had a goal and two assists, while Obriecht had a team-high six ground balls. In all, three players caused at least two turnovers.
CUW returns home for the regular season finale against the University of Dallas at Fitting Field at 1 pm.