NMU’s Chelsea Lyons named GLIAC player of the week; ’Cats remain unbeaten

Jon Young

The home pitch was good to the ’Cats this weekend as they picked up two victories, improving their record to 2-0-1. On Saturday, Sept. 3, senior forward Chelsea Lyons made her presence known by putting up a hat trick on the visiting University of Minnesota-Crookston to lead NMU to a 3-1 win.

“I was surprised I made the impact that I did today,” Lyons said. “I was not expecting a hat trick.”

Lyons scored the first of her three goals at the 27:26 minute, off an assist from senior forward Jessica Lusardi. A minute into the second half, the ’Cats scored again, taking a 2-0 lead. Junior midfielder Brekelle Sellers assisted Lyons on the play. Minnesota-Crookston punched in a goal at 56:27 to cut the lead to one, but Lyons responded with her third goal at 58:02 off another assist from Sellers. Lyons said Sellers passing ability makes her a threat.

“She’s awesome on the ball,” Lyons said. “Depending on the pass she can float it into you or drive it into you. It’s like the perfect ball you want to be served to you; she knows what it is and how to get it to you. It’s great to play with her.”

NMU controlled the pace of the game, firing 14 shots on goal compared to six from Minnesota-Crookston.
On Sunday, Sept. 4, the ’Cats played their third game in four days beating Bemidji State University 1-0. NMU was able to use the wind to their advantage in the first half and pick up a quick goal at 2:38 into the match. Junior forward Amelia Johnson assisted Lyons who netted her fifth goal of the season. The Wildcats adjusted their play with the weather junior defender Caitlin Glendenning said.

“In the first half we knew we had the wind, so we could send balls long,” Glendenning said. “Second half, we had to play a lot more to the feet, just control it and play smart.”

Bemidji State had a close attempt at tying the game with just over four minutes left as they sailed a corner kick into play. Senior and All-GLIAC first team goalkeeper Jessica Baker caught the ball high in the air, spoiling any chance at a comeback. Head coach Matt Granstrand said he was impressed with Baker’s catch and overall play.

“You can’t say enough to be honest,” Granstrand said. “Those are high balls and we’ve been working on those a lot. She showed today that in strong winds, with lots of pressure and people all over her, she can hang onto the high balls. If you can do that today, you can do that any day. It’s a great performance by her.”

The Wildcats first game of the season was on Thursday, Sept. 1 against Minnesota-Duluth. The game ended in a 2-2 tie. Freshman forward Tevun Sellers and Lyons each scored for the ’Cats.

NMU starts a six game road trip this week and won’t be home again until Sept. 30. The Wildcats kick off the road test this Wednesday, Sept. 7 when they travel to Houghton to face a second-year program Michigan Tech. Glendenning expects Tech to play with high energy and knows Northern has to be ready to play.

“They have a lot of energy,” Glendenning said. “They are young, ready to go, ready to play and they are excited. They are a new program, only in their second year. That can be dangerous when you don’t know a lot about a program.”

After the Tech match, NMU will travel to Ohio Dominican on Sunday, Sept. 11. The weekend after that, the ’Cats will get a look at two North-GLIAC rivals as they face Ferris State on Sept. 16 and defending national champion s Grand Valley State University on Sept. 18.