Showing who’s best: NCAA-bound Indianapolis slices up Northern Michigan University Wildcats lacrosse team, 23-0

Northern Michigan University’s Tess Kostelec, front, gets around Indianapolis’ Hannah Reho as Kostelec looks for a teammate to pass to in the first half of their GLIAC lacrosse game played at the Superior Dome in Marquette on Thursday. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University women’s lacrosse team lost 23-0 to No. 12 Indianapolis at the Superior Dome on Thursday night in a critical late-season GLIAC contest.

The Wildcats fell into an 18-0 hole at halftime, and continued to be held off the scoreboard in the second half. Facing a Greyhounds team that is undefeated in the GLIAC, it was the just the second time in program history the Wildcats have been shut out.

With the loss, NMU remained one game out of a GLIAC tournament position in seventh place. That’s because sixth-place Ashland and eighth-place Lewis University both fell in their Thursday matches as well.

NMU (3-11 overall) sits at 2-8 in conference play, while Ashland (4-9), the Wildcats’ opponent this weekend, is 3-7.

The Wildcats and Eagles meet in the dome at 11 a.m. Saturday for NMU’s Senior Day and also for the first time ever as Ashland is in its first season of varsity lacrosse. The winner will move onto the GLIAC tournament.

Northern head coach Emilia Ward said her team simply ran into a big road block facing Indy, a team well on its way to the GLIAC regular season title and a berth in the NCAA Division II tournament.

“Indy is the No. 12 team in the nation for a reason,” she said. “They’re third in the (Midwest) region right now and are in a really good spot to make the NCAA tournament. That’s a team who can battle injuries and come back right and that’s the type of program that we’re working to become.

“You have to go through these bumps in the road to get there and now we have to work to bounce back. Our goal is to make the GLIAC tournament and we can still accomplish that with a win on Saturday.”

Ward added that despite the shutout, there were some bright spots, including defensively and simply with the effort.

“We battled for 60 minutes,” she said. “We didn’t have it on the offensive side (tonight) and we definitely turned the ball over way more. We talked about how if we turned the ball over against this team, it was going to be a long night because they’re the best draw control team in the conference.

“We battled hard and I thought our defense at points actually did play really well. They were physical on Indy’s top players, especially about 10 minutes into the half we really started to make them work hard on their clear. They just capitalized on every shot they took tonight.”

Grace Gunneson led Indianapolis (14-1, 10-0 GLIAC) with four goals in the first half, followed by Krista Temple with three.

The Wildcats registered just four shots in the first half, one a free-position shot from freshman attacker Emily Renfrew which was saved by Greyhounds goalkeeper Cassidy King. NMU sophomore midfielder Ellie Bahr had two of the four NMU attempts. Indy had 26 first-half shots.

King was replaced by Lauren Granville to begin the second half.

Temple and Gunneson scored again to open the second half to make it 20-0, while the Greyhounds added three more goals down the stretch.

Final shots were 33-7 in favor of the Greyhounds. NMU freshman goalkeeper Cam Stilson made six saves for the Wildcats.

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