Lacrosse heads northwest for NCAA Tournament

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – First trip to the NCAA Tournament, and Central Michigan drew a heavyweight.

The Chippewa lacrosse team will play at Northwestern on Friday, May 13 (5 p.m. ET) in a first round game of the NCAA Tournament.

CMU (12-7), in his seventh year of college lacrosse, is in the big dance for the first time after capturing the Mid-American Conference Tournament title with a 20-10 win over Robert Morris on Saturday.

The team gathered Sunday night at the Chippewa Champions Center to watch the ESPNU televised selection show. When “Central Michigan” appeared in the parenthesis just above “Northwestern,” the Chippewas burst into excitement.

“It’s a little surreal right now,” says CMU’s fifth-year senior Hannah Potter mentioned. “We’re obviously still on top, everyone’s really excited. We’ve been saying since August that we were going to be MAC champions. … It’s good to experience it now, for sure.

“This whole evening and seeing our name appear on the screen with all your best friends is obviously really awesome.”

Northwestern (13-4) is seeded fourth nationally and seeded fourth in the 29-team tournament despite losing in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.

The Wildcats are one of the sport’s bluebloods. They reached the NCAA semifinals in 2019 and 2021 and won seven national championships in eight years from 2005 to 2012.

“We’re thrilled to be able to play at Evanston, to play at Northwestern, to be able to play against a Big Ten team,” the coach said. Sara Tisdale, who has led the program since its inception. “He’s a new opponent, we’ve never had them on the program, but obviously not unknown (to us).

“We’re going to get down to business tonight, start watching a lot of movies and getting familiar with them. We’re excited for the challenge. One thing I’ve learned about this team is that they don’t back down. and that she doesn’t “matter who is on the other side of that ball. The way we played (Saturday) for the 60 minutes, if we can play with that intensity and that focus and for each other – I’m delighted to know where we’re going to be this weekend.”

The CMU-Northwestern winner will face No. 16 Notre Dame (9-9) or No. 18 Michigan (10-6) in a second-round matchup on Sunday, May 15. The Chippewas opened the season with a 24-5 loss to the Fighting Irish and fell to Michigan, 17-13, in early March.

Saturday’s MAC Tournament championship and resulting spot in the NCAA is deeply satisfying for Tisdale, the program and the university. Their win over Robert Morris on Saturday was a program record 12and.

“It’s been a great weekend,” Tisdale said. “Everything from our stadium, our atmosphere, our fans, the way our players have put in so many hours of preparation and the way they have looked after each other this week and the way they have done their job during the finals in class and also came ready to play each day.

“I think it’s really a testament to the maturity of this program and how far it’s come in seven seasons.”

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