Lacrosse loses, playoffs still possible

Brice Burge

The Northern Michigan University club lacrosse team suffered a pair of rough losses on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20, sending their record to 1-3 overall.

“In both games, we found ourselves down early after letting in a couple goals,” said midi Ryan Moliassa. “Our team never gave up, and we stayed as competitive as we could and our morale stayed high.”

That morale was high for the Wildcats before their game against No. 5 Davenport. The Panthers lost on Thursday against the No. 1 Grand Valley State Lakers 16-5, scoring their lowest amount of goals in the last three seasons. However, the home team rebounded quickly, as they lambasted NMU 22-1 on Saturday night. Davenport dominated the whole game behind attacker Shawn Beer’s six points. The only goal for NMU came in the fourth quarter from attacker Craig Pulak, who put in his third goal of the season with help from Jason Cassens.

The NMU lacrosse team dropped both their away games last weekend, falling to 1-3 overall. The team will travel to take on Hope College on April 1, with the winner likely earning a playoff spot. // Adelle Whitefoot/NW

“I got the ball on the top side of the box, moved to the side and I let off an underhand shot and it went off the hip of the defender to go in,” Pulak said.

The Wildcats were able to shake off the offensive rust in Big Rapids, but they still fell 18-12 to Ferris State.  Six Wildcats were able to find the back of the net in the loss, but were led by Cassens and Moliassa with three goals apiece. Pulak had four assists in the game as well.

“It was my teammates feeding me the ball well; it’s just what we practiced,” Moliassa said. “The big factor in our plays is the attackmen giving me the ball well, and it goes well with me trying to get a little bit of space to shoot.”

Adding in on the scoring against Ferris were defensemen Nick Johnson and Mitch Glenn. Both players were using the typical defensive long stick, compared to the short sticks used by attackmen and offensive-minded midis. Johnson has been a staple of the NMU defense for four years; however, Glenn is listed on the roster as a short-stick midi. He switched positions due to injuries and lack of players at the position. The offensive threat from the defensive players isn’t just a benefit, head coach Matt Glenn said, but shows their skill and experience.

“Mitch’s goal isn’t a real surprise with his skill, but (Johnson) has always been a player we trust in the offensive zone,” Glenn said. “(Johnson) has great hands and is real elusive and deceptive and can out deke most of the short stick players.”

NMU had over a month between games, as their last contest was a 13-5 victory against the Northwood Timberwolves on Feb. 5. According to Cassens, the team has been running drills in practice, but staying focused was a rough challenge.

“It was difficult from a team standpoint,” Cassens said. “We hit a slow two-week period in the middle, but it’s good to get that break and recuperate for the tough part of our season.”

It will be another two weekends before the Wildcats play another game, an April Fools’ Day game at No. 16 Hope College. This is a crucial North division matchup, as the winner would be in the driver seat for a CCLA tournament berth. NMU is 2-0 all time against Hope, and Pulak has guaranteed a victory against the Flying Dutchman, but Cassens is taking a more analytical approach to the contest.

“I think that we’re going to look at the mistakes we made from the previous week and get accustomed to the defense,” Cassens said.” We’re looking forward to increasing the game speed and getting everyone on the same game strategy is where we want to be.”