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Below the (Mackinac) bridge: Northern Michigan University to meet Davenport in women’s lacrosse possibly 3 straight times over 2 weeks

Northern Michigan University’s Kaitlyn Bridger, right, scores a goal during the first half of a GLIAC lacrosse game played against Grand Valley State on Sunday at the Superior Dome in Marquette. (Journal photo by Ryan Stieg)

“By the third time we play them, we should be very familiar with the way they play.” — Lindsey LeMay

, NMU head lacrosse coach, on probably facing Davenport three games in a row

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MARQUETTE — The season is winding down for the Northern Michigan University women’s lacrosse team and the tough part for the Wildcats is they’ll be spending the rest of this spring on the road.

Under normal circumstances, the Wildcats might host a GLIAC Tournament game in the first round.

However, this year, they’ll have to go downstate, most likely to No. 8 Grand Valley State, which just swept NMU at the Superior Dome over the weekend.

Looking back on a rough weekend against the talented Lakers, Northern head coach Lindsey LeMay said her thoughts remained the same as they were after Sunday’s 18-6 loss.

“Grand Valley is a very tough opponent and they’re very deserving of their rank and I think that the weekend was a good test to kind of see where we play with the best teams in the country,” she said in a Monday Zoom interview.

“And it shows that we still have growth that we need to do in the next couple years and I need to keep recruiting the kids I want to recruit. That’s why I’m so excited for next year when I finally get some of my own kids here.”

None of NMU’s goals on Sunday came from its best attackers. LeMay credited the Lakers’ clamp-down defense and said it was nice to see other players contribute.

“I think it’s because Grand Valley did a very good job of shutting down our usual weapons,” she said. “I’m glad Tess (Kostelec) on Senior Day got two goals, but Tess isn’t usually a weapon we go to, but the people that scored were able to score because they just shut down Emily (Renfrew) completely, they shut down Minnie (Bittell) and they shut down Jess (Daniels).

“So we were able to have other scoring options, which is good for the future as we start handling better teams better than that. It’s good to have other scoring options, but none of the people that scored two goals in that game are traditionally people that score very much.”

Now the Wildcats head downstate to close out the regular season at Davenport and then they will then probably play these same Panthers in the GLIAC Tournament the following week. Unlike the high-powered Lakers, LeMay said Davenport is a team more similar to her squad.

“They’re not a traditional superpower where Grand Valley kind of has the reputation of year after year being a high-caliber team,” she said. “Davenport’s more physical and scrappy and they’re just now starting to break into, like they only lost to Grand Valley by two last time they played them.

“They’re having a really good year, they’ve only lost one game, to Grand Valley, on the entire season. They’re good, they’re almost as physical as we are and they play kind of a structured offense the way that we do.

“So I think they’re a good matchup for us. We’re just going to play them a lot of times in a row, though. So hopefully, if anything, we’ll be able to initially scout them based on film obviously, but by the third time we play them, we should be very familiar with the way they play.”

NMU faces Davenport at 5:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday.

Ryan Stieg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is rstieg@miningjournal. net.

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