Still searching for a win

NMU lacrosse loses seventh game in a row

Northern Michigan University's Savannah Stich, center left, looks toward the goal in the defensive zone of Walsh University on Friday night, Apr. 28, 2017, at the Superior Dome. (Journal photo by Jess Makela)

By RAY BRESSETTE

Journal Sports Writer

MARQUETTE — Any hopes of the the Northern Michigan University women’s lacrosse team making the GLIAC tournament in its inaugural season ended Friday night as it fell to Walsh 19-7 at the Superior Dome.

NMU head coach Emilia Ward said despite the loss, the young Wildcat program showed continuing growth in the defeat.

“We did a lot of really good things and played the best we have in weeks,” Ward said. “We’re a young team learning how to battle in a tight game. We gave away too many extra possessions, so we still have other things to learn as a team. We still have a lot to prove before the season is up.”

With the return of offensive leader Shelby Klotz, who missed six games with a concussion, the Wildcats notched 27 shots against Walsh, the most they recorded in 10 games.

NMU also netted four goals in the first half, which was more than it has had in any of their last five matches.

Walsh drew first blood in the game, scoring just 1:21 into the first half off of a turnover from NMU’s Blair Osgood.

NMU quickly responded less than a minute later with an equalizer from Graison Ringlever from the corner of the goal crease.

Ward said her team had a different feel on offense from the start.

“We were a lot more aggressive going through the field,” she said. “Getting Shelby back helped a lot and gave us an extra dodger to open up space.

“We worked this week on becoming more creative and try feeds that the girls have been afraid to try. We didn’t connect on all of them, but those are turnovers we are willing to take because we’re trying new offenses.”

But 25 turnovers proved to be too many as Walsh finished the first half strong scoring 10 of the last 13 goals to take a commanding lead going into halftime.

Ringlever tacked on two more goals and Osgood netted a pair, but the Cavaliers ended the second half strong as well with four straight goals to extend their lead to double digits.

Ward said the struggles toward the end of each half were another learning lesson for the ‘Cats in their first season.

“A lot of it was our lack of depth,” Ward said. “We were getting worn down, and since we were committing turnovers, we were chasing a lot more.

“We were tired and they took advantage of it. They were more aggressive going to the cage toward the end than they were at any other point in the game.”

The win for Walsh was a milestone as it earned its first GLIAC victory in the program’s five years of existence.

And while the Wildcats are out of the playoff picture when they head into their season finale Sunday against Lake Erie, they are trying to pick up their own first conference win before putting their inaugural season in the books.

“It’s not going to take us (five years),” Ward said. “We’re close as a team and just need a little more experience and clean a few things up.

“It’s important to play well on Sunday and pick up momentum and good vibes heading into the offseason.”

Ray Bressette can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is rbressette@miningjournal.net.

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