MOVING ON: Northern Lacrosse Stops Concordia

This story was written by NMU Sports Information

 The NMU lacrosse team punched its ticket to the GLIAC Championship match on Sunday after dowing the Concordia-St. Paul Golden Bears 15-6.

Minnie Bittell (5-4--9) and Josie Lakosky (5-1--6) led the 'Cats with five goals each, and the defensive group of Maddi BastDayna CarlsonNatalie ThomasKaitlyn Bridger, and Krista Pascavis combined for 11 caused turnovers. Lauren Esposito turned in a solid night, making 11 saves and posting a .647 SV%. 

"We did a really good job of setting pace and intensity from the start, and we stuck to our gameplan," says head coach Lindsey (LeMay) Majkrzak. "We were able to play through the physicality and have success on both sides of the ball."

The 'Cats now have their sights set on Grand Valley for the GLIAC Championship on Sunday, May 5, at noon. 

It was a slow start offensively for the 'Cats, as Concordia notched the first goal of the game three minutes in and held the 'Cats scoreless for the first 11 minutes of the frame. Despite a lack of early goals, the 'Cats held CSP to only three shot attempts with seven turnovers in the first quarter.

"The defensive play in the first was awesome. They did a really good job of coming out with the pace we needed to play this team. There are a lot of specific things you have to do to guard Concordia, and they were ready for that."

The 'Cats opened their scoring with none other than Bittell, striking with three and a half minutes left to tie the game. Lakosky struck a mere 30 seconds later, but the highlight of the first quarter was Carlson causing a turnover before taking it to the net herself, scoring with just three seconds left to give the 'Cats a two-goal cushion. 

"It was such a cool moment for Dayna. She was a midfielder for us last year, so she hasn't scored a lot for us [this year], and for her to bring energy like that throughout the game… she lifted us when we needed to be lifted."

In a dominant second quarter, the 'Cats struck four times to CSP's two, with Bittell factoring in on three of the 'Cats four goals and reaching her 100th point of the season with a goal five minutes in. NMU would hold a 7-3 advantage going into the locker room. 

"[Minnie] is so important to everything we do, and everything good we do is because of her willpower, heart, or actual skill. She's a huge contributor everywhere."

Esposito played a huge role between the pipes in the second, making six saves and allowing the 'Cats to maintain their lead. 

"Lauren is such a tough tough girl. She did such a great job of owning the moment, handling stress, and stepping up. She's really composed in the cage, and that's why she does so well."

'The 'Cats stayed hungry coming out of the locker room, scoring four more times in the third, capped off by Lakosky completing her hat trick to push the 'Cats to an 11-4 advantage. 

"I was really proud of [Josie's] confidence tonight. She was able to see through their defense, move through their contact, and take advantage of certain situations. She had a maturing moment tonight, and really owned that part of our offense."

The green and gold did a great job of shutting down the Golden Bears to close out the game down the stretch, including caused turnovers from the likes of Carlson, Bast, and Thomas.

"Our defense has been the heart of our team this year. They trust each other, they work hard, and they bring everyone around them up. Maddi [Bast], Dayna [Carlson], and Natalie [Thomas] especially brought the kick we needed at the right time."