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Lacrosse their hearts: Northern Michigan University Wildcats team feeling good after recent home sweep

Northern Michigan University’s Emily Renfrew, right, and Indianapolis’ Peyton Romig vie for control of the ball during a faceoff in their GLIAC lacrosse game played at the Superior Dome in Marquette on April 18, 2019. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

“Did I hate losing last weekend? Yes, but I think it worked out OK.” — Lindsey LeMAY, NMU lacrosse head coach, on a loss at Findlay on March 22 that

helped the Wildcats learn how to win

—————

MARQUETTE — It’s often difficult to get past a last-second loss, but the Northern Michigan University lacrosse team pulled off that feat quite well last weekend.

After falling at Findlay 21-20 on the road in Ohio on March 22 after the Oilers scored two goals in the final 15 seconds, the Wildcats (4-3, 2-0 GLIAC) bounced back a few days later in the Superior Dome to earn a 16-15 overtime win over Concordia-St. Paul on March 26, then completed the sweep of the Golden Bears with another 13-10 triumph two days later.

NMU will have nearly two weeks off until their next game, also in the Superior Dome, against Ashland at 7 p.m. Friday. The Eagles have a return match with Northern at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Northern Michigan University's Emily Renfrew, left, breaks toward the goal as Indianapolis' Riley McClure defends in the first half of their GLIAC lacrosse game played at the Superior Dome in Marquette on April 18, 2019. (Photo courtesy Daryl T. Jarvinen)

The bounce back at the end of March left head coach Lindsey LeMay feeling “pretty good” — even with losing her voice — in a Zoom interview held a day after the sweep of Concordia on March 29.

“What we did (last) weekend I think just really shows that our program is about to be a lot better than it’s been and it’s very exciting to see our hard work come to fruition in such an obvious way,” she said. “I’m very proud of them, especially for the first night, but the second night really kind of sealed it for me that we’re ready to be good.”

When asked what the key was to turning it around after such a big disappointment against Findlay, LeMay said it was because the Wildcats learned how to close out a game.

“When we played Findlay and we lost in the last like 20 seconds by one, we had a meeting the next day where we talked about what it takes to be a winner and what you need to be willing to do to finish out that last 40 seconds of play where we went from being up one to down one in 40 seconds,” she said. “They all had (to) write out their own solutions for all the problems that we had and they all were very self-aware and I think that we really applied everything that they talked about, especially in the first night, because again it was the same situation.

“It’s being able to finish out that 40 seconds and not have it end the way that it did (against) Findlay. I think they just finally figured out how to turn it on and finish a game. I also think that we don’t play the game we did on Friday if we don’t lose by one like four days earlier. So I think that although those two road losses were hard, if we were coming off of the Upper Iowa weekend we were supposed to have where they wouldn’t have been able to field the whole team, I think we’re not at the same level of competitive range that we were this weekend.

“Did I hate losing last weekend? Yes, but I think it worked out OK.”

In addition to getting two wins to move above .500 at 4-3, Northern also had two players earn individual honors as Emily Renfrew was named GLIAC Offensive Player of the Week and goalkeeper Cam Stilson notch Defensive Player of the Week.

So it was a successful weekend all around for NMU, which matched its program high for wins in a season with another half-dozen games to go in this regular season.

The Wildcats try to continue that success next weekend when they continue their homestand against Ashland. The Eagles may only be 1-6, but LeMay said her squad isn’t overlooking them.

“Ashland is a team that’s, they’re hard to scout because they try very hard, and usually it can hurt teams sometimes when they just like fly at you and they run around fast and just like kind of play a little bit unstructured,” she said. “But they really gave Davenport a lot of trouble for the first half of their first game (last) weekend and Concordia only beat them by like six.

“So I think that whereas the last time this program played Ashland was two years ago, Ashland’s first year, I think we beat them by like 20, I don’t expect that to be the same Ashland team.

“So I think it’s really important that while we’re celebrating this, that starting (Tuesday) we definitely shift back into game mode and respect them as an opponent because overlooking anyone in this conference is dangerous. I think the Midwest lacrosse scene, especially in the GLIAC, is getting very good very quickly. Davenport obviously figured it out, they beat them like 23-2 the next night, but the first night was closer.”

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

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