MARQUETTE, Mich. – Northern Michigan University Lacrosse achieved many program firsts as the program made large strides in their third season.
This year's squad picked up the first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference road victory with a 14-8 win at Maryville University on March 24. They then followed with a 13-3 win at Lewis University.
With a 24-6 win over Ashland University on Senior Day, April 20, the Wildcats secured their first-ever GLIAC Tournament appearance. The 24 goals were also the most the program had ever scored in a game, while the 18-goal difference is the largest margin of victory in program history as well.
The squad opened the year with a 17-8 win over Albion College, and the four wins are also the most in a season for the young program.
Junior Graison Ringlever (Mattawan, Mich.) posted two program firsts this year. Against Concordia University, St. Paul, Ringlever became the first player in program history to reach 100 career points. She then scored her 100th goal against Ashland and now has 103 goals and 119 total points.
Ringlever also became the first player to reach 40 goals in a season, scoring 42 goals. She also led the league with 19 free position goals on her way to earning her second All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honor.
Four players reached 20 goals, the most in a season for NMU. Behind Ringlever, freshman Jessica Daniels (Brighton, Mich.) scored 26 goals while freshman Emily Renfrew (Okemos, Mich.) had 25. Freshman Aleya Speas (Castle Rock, Colo.) chipped and found the net 23 times. In total, 13 players scored goals this season, up from nine in 2017.
Sophomore Tess Kostelec (Columbia, Md.) set a new record with nine assists this season and now has 16 assists in her career, along with 26 goals.
The team scored 164 goals, had 40 assists, and had 193 draw controls. Each was more than they achieved in 2018.
Defensively the team also made tremendous strides. In goal, freshman Cam Stilson (Brighton, Mich.) made 167 saves with the best goals against average in program history. The team posted a school record 85 caused turnovers, led by freshman Jessica Close (Stafford, Va.), who had 15 for a school record. This was also the first time four players achieved 10 or more caused turnovers as sophomore Bianca Kinder (Haslett, Mich.) and Shannon Walus (Brighton, Mich.), and freshman Renfrew both had 10.
In total, NMU tallied 85 caused turnovers and snagged 233 ground balls which was a 20-ground ball improvement. The team also allowed fewer goals.
The team returns the majority of their offense and defense for the 2020 season and will look to continue the growth they displayed during 2019.