W Lacrosse: NMU bounces back against McKendree after two-game slide


Dallas Wiertella/NW

ROAD TRIP – NMU started their seven-game road trip and are looking to bring the momentum they have built into conference play, resuming this weekend.

Chris Anderson

The women’s lacrosse team was able to grind out a 13-11 home win over Concordia-St. Paul with junior Minnie Bittell scoring five goals for the ‘Cats. Concordia-St. Paul is largely considered NMU’s biggest rival with most of Coach Lindsey LeMay’s recruiting being done in Minnesota.

“Being able to overcome those close games and have yourself be on the winning side instead of the losing side is going to be really important this year,” LeMay said.

The two-point win over the Golden Bears was one of the three wins NMU has this year by three points or less. Following the home win, the ‘Cats started a seven-game road trip during which they are playing some of the top teams in the region.

NMU’s road trip started off with a 10-13 loss to Walsh University. The Wildcats were able to outshoot the Cavalieres 30-23 but were unable to find the back of the net for most of the game. Maddi Bast was the ‘Cats’ leading scorer on the night with four goals, but the position time of Walsh proved too difficult for NMU to overcome.

“We matched their game speed instead of playing our game speed and we are not a patient team,” LeMay said. “We are someone that wants urgency, wants to be sliding and moving and more aggressive on defense and that didn’t allow for it.”

The loss was followed by a matchup against University of Indianapolis, a team coming off a national championship from last year. NMU committed 19 turnovers and lost the match 18-5.

“It’s good for our team to see that level of competitiveness because it stops you from becoming complacent,” LeMay said. “It’s just our scheduling last week … if I could redo it, I would keep us at one game under what we’re supposed to be at, so we didn’t have to play three games on that trip.”

The ‘Cats were scheduled for another game less than 24 hours later against a tough McKendree University team. After a slow start in the first quarter, NMU scored zero goals in the first 15 minutes, but the Wildcat offense turned up the heat with 12 goals over the second and third quarters.

“We showed that we have grit at McKendree because we did have to dig our way out of the first quarter hole where we were not on and it was great to see that, for the next three quarters, we could turn it on,” LeMay said.

Bittell scored six goals on the night and became NMU’s all-time leading scorer with 120 goals and 166 points total with that number likely to rise substantially. She still has six games left in the season and an entire year of eligibility left in her NCAA career.

“She’s taken a step this year to become a great player that I always knew she had in her,” LeMay said. “It’s just been really neat to see her do that.”

With the win over the Bearcats, NMU will head to Grand Valley State to resume conference play against the Lakers followed by a match against the Davenport Panthers. Although the GLIAC conference seems to be having a down year, LeMay and the Wildcats are preparing for a battle against two teams they know are capable of winning.

“I think it’s really important to prepare and play well in Grand Valley so that we can take momentum of what we can accomplish in Grand Valley into Davenport because we have in the past traditionally been really freaked out by Davenport,” LeMay said.