By Matt Noonan
The 2021 season is off to a roaring start for the Illinois Wesleyan University men’s lacrosse team, which has tallied 56 goals in two contests.
The 56 tallies is the most the any team in program history has recorded in their first two contests, erasing the original mark of 55 goals from 2018.
Rick Smith has been one of many players to watch thus far – the Frankfort, Illinois native highlighted his team’s 24-7 win against the Milwaukee School of Engineering by netting a school-record nine goals on 17 shots to go with two assists. Smith also led the team in shots on goal (14) while scooping four ground balls.
In addition to Smith, IWU’s attack has been powered by Charles Hildestad and Griffin DeMilt, who have combined for 14 goals and seven assists.
IWU’s fast start is identical to previous seasons, which have culminated in a trio of College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) tournament titles, along with three trips to the NCAA D-III Tournament.
The Titans are currently one of three teams in their conference that boast a 2-0 record – the Green and White will attempt to win their third contest of the 2021 season on Sunday, March 14 when they visit Rhodes College.
News and Notes from the NCAA D-III Lacrosse World
- Salisbury University remains the top team in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association (USILA) poll followed by RIT (second) and Tufts University (third).
- Two days after their first contest of the 2021 season, Sewanne announced on Monday, March 1 that Nick DiBernardo “has been appointed to head coach” of the Tigers’ men’s lacrosse program.
DiBernardo, who is in his sixth season with the Tigers, was named the interim head coach of the program after serving five seasons as the team’s assistant coach.
Sewanne returns to the field next Wednesday, March 10 when they host Piedmont College.
- Rhodes College’s Meghan Keelan earned her 100th win on the sidelines earlier this week when the Lynx scored a 23-3 win over Hendrix College.
Keelan, who is in her fifth season with the Red and White, has guided the Lynx to 57 wins. Prior to arriving at Rhodes, Keelan coached Shepherd University (NCAA D-II) for four seasons.
- The Washington & Lee women’s lacrosse team will return to the field literally one year after beating Gettysburg College on March 8, 2020.
The Generals, who enter the season ranked fourth on the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA), will commence their 2021 campaign when they visit Ferrum College next Tuesday, March 9.
Both teams last met in 2019 with the Generals winning their conference matchup by a score of 24-0.
- Three New England D-III conferences – Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC), New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), and New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) – have announced plans to play spring sports this season. Games are expected to begin later this month, but we do know the Wheaton College women’s lacrosse team will kickoff their campaign on Saturday, March 20 when they visit Clark University, according to their schedule release on Instagram.
- The Lynchburg University men’s lacrosse team will attempt to win their third-straight contest of the 2021 season on Saturday, March 6 when they entertain Salisbury for a 12 p.m. face-off.
The Hornets have won back-to-back contests this season against Randolph and Southern Virginia – the team is averaging 21 goals per game.
Salisbury topped Lynchburg last season by a score of 16-10, thanks to Griffin Moroney, who finished the game with five points (four goals and one assist).