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Loss ends Northern Michigan University Wildcats’ lacrosse regular season

Madeline Bittell

GRAND RAPIDS — A historic season has ended with a whimper but still some hope as the women’s lacrosse team at Northern Michigan University now looks forward to the GLIAC Tournament.

The Wildcats lost at Davenport 21-5 on Sunday to finish at 6-7 overall and 4-4 in the conference. The six wins overall and four in league are the most in the program’s five-year history, which also included a program-record four-game winning streak.

But a four-game losing streak ended the regular season, though all of the losses came against the league’s top two teams — Davenport (6-1) and Grand Valley State (7-0).

Those top teams finish the regular season Tuesday evening with a game against each other before the GLIAC tourney is tentatively scheduled to run from May 7-9, according to the GLIAC website, www.gliac.org.

Five teams actually played in the league this spring, making a likely format where the third-place Wildcats would play the second-place team in the semifinals with a berth in the championship at stake. The GLIAC website also said the tourney would be played at the school with the highest seeding, meaning at GVSU in Allendale or at Davenport in nearby Grand Rapids.

Emily Renfrew

On Sunday, NMU got off to a solid start when sophomore Aleya Speas scored on a free position shot just over five minutes into the game to tie the score 1-1.

But Northern was shut out for nearly 20 minutes as the host Panthers scored the next eight goals to make it 9-1.

The Wildcats’ Madeline Bittell broke her team’s scoring drought with 5:34 left in the first half on another free position shot, while teammates Emily Renfrew and Katelyn Mongold added tallies 22 seconds apart late in the half to make it 12-4 at intermission.

After Davenport scored the first eight goals of the second half, NMU’s Clara Johnson scored with Bittell getting the assist with 2:35 left for the Wildcats’ final goal of the regular season.

Mongold led Northern with seven shots, including four on goal, while Speas and Renfrew had two apiece. Lauryn Rygiel led the team with two caused turnovers as Bittell had five draw controls.

Katelyn Mongold

Cam Stilson made four saves and fellow goalkeeper Aliyah Smukala had six as each played in the NMU net for a half. Smukala also led Northern with ground balls.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.

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