First half struggles continue, too little too late

Freshmen+midfielders+Bianca+Kinder+and+Hannah+Seaman%2C+sophomore+midfielder%2Fdefender+Leiss+Luyckx+and+senior+goaltender+Brianna+Bangle+stand+in+the+foreground+of+a+team+huddle+Wednesday+against+St.+Paul.+%0APhoto+by%3A+Emma+Case

Freshmen midfielders Bianca Kinder and Hannah Seaman, sophomore midfielder/defender Leiss Luyckx and senior goaltender Brianna Bangle stand in the foreground of a team huddle Wednesday against St. Paul. Photo by: Emma Case

Levi Erkkila

The Northern Michigan University Women’s Lacrosse team traveled to Davenport University (DU) to take on the Panthers Saturday, but lost the game 17-11. Then, on Wednesday, the Wildcats hosted the Concordia University St. Paul (CPS) Golden Bears. NMU lost again, falling 23-12.

The Wildcats are on a five-game losing streak and with the second half of the conference schedule approaching, the final weeks to close the season increase in significance. The team has a chance to look back at what they did well against those opponents and improve in the areas they need to.

“Every game gives us a chance to learn more and try new things on the field,” senior defenseman Danielle Grzeskowiak said.

DU scored first to open the game Saturday, but freshman attacker Tess Kostelec found freshman midfielder Bianca Kinder for a goal to tie the game at the 20:26 mark. Kostelec went on to score on a free position shot a minute later to give NMU a 2-1 lead.

The Panthers tied it at two, then freshman attacker Emily Dvorak followed with two goals of her own to put the Wildcats ahead 4-2 with 14:40 to go in the half. DU answered with two goals, then Dvorak scored her third goal of the game to give Northern the lead 5-4.

Davenport responded with three goals and moved ahead 7-5 with 5:40 to go. Dvorak found the net again with 3:13 remaining in the first half, but DU scored once more before time ran out to give the Panthers an 8-6 lead at halftime.

Davenport added two goals to open the second half. Sophomore attacker Angelica Bogden scored on a pass from Kostelec to make it 10-7 less than six minutes into the second half. After another DU goal, sophomore midfielder Graison Ringlever scored on a free position shot, making the score to 11-8 with 15:22 to play.

The Panthers responded with two more goals, but NMU answered with free position goals from Ringlever and Kinder making the score 13-10 in favor of DU. Davenport put two goals on the board, then Kinder found Kostelec with 3:33 to play cutting the lead to four, 15-11. The Panthers closed out the game with two goals making the final score 17-11.

Dvorak led the Wildcats with four goals. Kostelec had four points, two goals and two assists. Kinder added two goals and an assist, Ringlever scored twice as well. Junior defenseman Tori Aidif tied Dvorak in ground balls, and freshman defenseman Shannon Walus finished the day with two caused turnovers. Senior goalie Brianna Bangle posted a season-best 16 saves in the effort.

Yesterday in the Superior Dome, the Golden Bears took a 7-0 lead to start the game until freshman midfielder Ellie Bahr scored to give NMU their first goal at the 17-minute mark. Dvorak scored on a free position shot, closing the gap to five. CSP answered with two goals, followed by a goal from freshman attacker Casey Heintzelman. Heintzelman responded to another Concordia goal with her second on the day to make the score 10-4. CSP put in three more goals before Ringlever found the back of the net with 26 seconds to go to make the score 13-5 at the half.

The Golden Bears scored two goals to start the second half. Northern went on a small hot-streak by scoring four straight. Dvorak started the streak with a free position shot, then Ringlever followed with her second goal of the game. Bogden scored on a pass from Kinder, then Ringlever scored another, this time on a free position shot to narrow the score to 15-9.

CSP responded with their own four-goal spurt to make it 19-9 with just over 12 minutes to play, ensuring the Wildcat comeback would fall short. Bahr would score again, but the Golden Bears answered. Ringlever then scored her fourth of the game but once again, Concordia answered. Bahr scored her third goal but the guests notched two more goals to take the 23-12 victory.

Ringlever led the Wildcats with four goals, Bahr added three with Dvorak and Heintzelman chipping in with two each. Kostelec finished with nine draw controls and Kinder had three. Ringlever and sophomore defenseman Nicole Smith tied with four ground balls. In goal, freshman Emily Karbaum posted a career-best 16 saves.

The Wildcats are back on the road this weekend, traveling to take on Indianapolis University Friday at 7 p.m. before taking on McKendree University on Sunday at noon in Lebannon, Illinois. Indianapolis is currently ranked 15th in NCAA Division II polls and carries a 7-3 record heading into Friday’s contest, while McKendree comes in with a 2-8 overall record and a four-game losing streak of their own.