Lacrosse plays for GLIAC seeding in final regular season weekend


CLAWING TO THE FINISH—NMU midfielder #12 Madeline Bittell rifles a pass to a teammate during the Wildcats’ 13-10 loss to Concordia St Paul on Wednesday, April 13. NMU closes out the regular season this weekend against Davenport and Grand Valley State. Travis Nelson/NW

Travis Nelson, Sports Editor

The Northern Michigan University lacrosse team wraps up its regular season this weekend on the road to take on Davenport and #8 Grand Valley State with clear GLIAC Tournament implications.

The Wildcats need to win one of two games to earn either the second or third in next week’s GLIAC Tournament. Losing both match-ups would result in a semifinal match-up with Grand Valley, and the Lakers have never lost to a current conference member. Essentially, the winnable game this weekend is against Davenport today, Friday 22 at 3 p.m. The Wildcats will stay in the Grand Rapids area over the weekend to play GVSU on Sunday at noon.

NMU coach Lindsey LeMay is hopeful that she can pull something out of this group, because a chance to already have earned the second or third seed slipped through their fingers in a 13-10 loss last Wednesday to Concordia St Paul.

“The pressure’s on, we did a good job of making sure we made it as hard as possible on ourselves,” LeMay said. “We had a good game for the seniors on senior night [a 23-4 win over Upper Iowa], but ultimately Wednesday was what mattered, and it was frustrating to watch.”

Northern’s focus now shifts to the crucial game with Davenport, a Panthers team that is good in their own right, and have also been nationally ranked periodically over the year. Both teams have already had one match-up this season on April 3, with the Panthers coming out victorious inside of the Superior Dome, 19-15. DU led 14-3 at halftime before NMU stormed back in the second half to keep it close. The Wildcats clearly got off to a slow start, and they intimidated early, LeMay said.

Davenport has a pair of sophomores, midfielder Anna Glynn and attacker Ayanna Turrubiates, that have lit up all kinds of different teams this season. Turrubiates leads the country with 80 goals, and Glynn leads the conference and is seventh nationally with 88 points (69 goals and 19 assists). In that first game against NMU, Turrubiates scored nine goals and Glynn scored five.

Playing a team with two stars on it like Davenport, LeMay expressed how important executing the game plan is going to have to be to stop Glynn and Turrubiates. To stop a tandem that can score whenever you let them, it’s going to take a specific plan that everyone buys into, LeMay said.

“We’re about to face a Davenport team that’s kind of rejuvenated their season after their loss to Concordia St. Paul,” LeMay said. “They didn’t beat Grand Valley, but they did play a far tighter game than they did the first time. Davenport plays very well on their home field, and we just couldn’t play well on our home field this year. It’s frustrating to see that and to see a team that I think we’re pretty even with in both Concordia and Davenport, peak at a different time than us.”

This weekend’s games are important for garnering some momentum heading into the final stretch of the season. If the Wildcats can pull off this win against Davenport, it will also serve as confidence heading into the conference tournament that no matter if they face Concordia St Paul or Davenport in the semis, they’ve beaten either teams. History isn’t on the Wildcats side entering this weekend in these two games, but if any year is the one to do it, this NMU squad with the program’s most wins could be the one.

“I think it’s very important, especially because it is so hard to play at Davenport and we lost to them back to back last year,” LeMay said. “Our older kids experienced playing them three times in a row and seeing no real improvement. And then to have that closer game at home, we really need to see that continued growth and momentum. To get a victory on Friday would be so important to be able to carry that into the tournament.”