Northern Michigan University Wildcats women’s lacrosse teams wins 13-11 over Concordia-St. Paul, Minnie Bittell sets career scoring mark

Northern Michigan University midfielder Lauryn Rygiel, front left, waits to defend a possible shot in front of Wildcats’ goalkeeper Hannah Melander during a college women’s lacrosse game played against Missouri Western State at the Superior Dome in Marquette on Feb. 25. (Photo courtesy NMU)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University women’s lacrosse team returned home to get back to its winning ways and set a record in the process on Friday in the Superior Dome.

The Wildcats defeated Concordia-St. Paul 13-11 in their GLIAC opener as they ran their overall record to 5-2. But they snapped a two-game losing streak that had developed on the road after a 4-0 start.

Junior Minnie Bittell led NMU with five goals and broke the school’s all-time goal-scoring record in the game.

She now has 20 goals this season while breaking the career mark as she now has 112, eclipsing the old mark of 108.

Junior teammate Kaitlyn Bridger contributed two goals and two assists for four points, while senior Katelyn Mongold also scored two goals and added an assist.

After a slow start to the scoring by both teams, Bittell caught fire in the middle of the first quarter, scoring three times for her hat trick in just under two minutes to first tie, then set the career goal record and give NMU a 3-0 lead.

Her goals came with 9:57, 8:43 and 7:58 left in the period as two were unassisted and the middle one assisted by Bridger.

Concordia answered with back-to-back goals less than 30 seconds apart later in the quarter from Kennedy Bolander and Anna Fisher to make it a 3-2 game.

Bittell added her fourth of the day on a free position shot with 2:59 left in the first to make it 4-2 after one period.

NMU and the Golden Bears traded goals for much of the second quarter, though the last two Wildcat goals went unanswered as Northern took a 9-5 halftime lead.

NMU got goals from Bittell — her fifth and final one of the contest — Bridger, Madi Bast, Danielle Key and Taylor Priestley in the period, while CSP answered with scores from Bolander, Susie Monson and Lauren Sheets. Northern assists went to Bridger, Mongold and Priestley.

Northern held Concordia at arm’s length in the second half, never letting the Bears get closer than two on the scoreboard.

In the third quarter, Mongold nailed two goals less than two minutes apart while Lauryn Rygiel also got her first of the season earlier in the period. CSP answered as Sheets, Maddie Westberg and Taylor Preece scored to make it 12-8 after three.

Though the Wildcats managed just one goal in the final quarter, an unassisted one by Bridger with 10:11 left, the Golden Bears had just three, though two were by Sheets to give her four for the day and 30 this season.

Statistically, NMU held a 34-21 advantage in total shots, including 25-15 in shots on goal. Northern also had fewer turnovers, 16 to 22, and more ground balls, 25-21.

Wildcats freshman goalkeeper Hannah Melander made four saves, while CSP’s Candace McDole had 12.

NMU heads back on the road for its next seven games, including three in the GLIAC, beginning with a nonconference match at Walsh in North Canton, Ohio, at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The Wildcats’ next home game will be a conference encounter against Davenport at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 21, back in the dome.

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


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