MARQUETTE, Mi. The Northern Michigan University Lacrosse team has signed eight players to National Letters of Intent during the NCAA Early Signing Period.
The Wildcats will be welcoming Heather Beebe, Minnie Bittell, Amber Hope, Kyleigh McCarthy, Natalie McGinnis, Kate Mongold, Aliyah Smukala, and Lauryn Rygiel as part of the 2019 recruiting class.
Heather Beebe will join the team from Ham Lake, Minnesota. A defender, Beebe was named the Varsity Rookie of the Year in 2016 and followed it with the Varsity Defensive Player of the Year honors last year. She was also named All-Conference in 2017.
Minnie Bittell is from Minnetonka, Minnesota and played for the MN Lakers Select club team. She will have four letters in lacrosse and also earned three in Alpine Ski Racing. An active member in Student Government and the business program Vantage, she is also in the Spanish Immersion Program.
Amber Hope joins the team from Cambridge, New Zealand. A midfielder, Hope was her high school team's captain this past year and was selected to the New Zealand U23 Women's Lacrosse team. She also represented New Zealand at the 2017 Asia Pacific Lacrosse Championships in South Korea.
From Rochester Hills, Michigan, and a member of the Great Lakes Elite, Kyleigh McCarthy served as her team's goalie. She will be a four-year starter, and was an all-league player for the past three years. The past two seasons she was named All-State Honorable Mention and All-State Academic. The team captain this coming season, McCarthy set a school record for most saves.
A midfielder from Aurora, Colorado, Natalie McGinnis played for the Summit Elite club team as well as her high school team, Cherokee Trail.
Kate Mongold comes to NMU from Schaumburg, Illinois and True Lacrosse IL. A captain this coming season, the defender earned MSL All-Honors. She also earned Principal Honor Roll and IHSA Scholar Award while also serving as Hoffman Estates High School National Honor Society president.
Aliyah Smukala plays goalie for MI Cyclones and is from Walled Lake, Michigan. A member of the National Honors Society, Smukala earned Scholar-Athlete Award in 2017 and 2018 and was named Individual Academic All-State in 2018. She also was named Honorable Mention All-State for two seasons.
Lauren Rygiel is a midfielder from South Lyon, Michigan and a member of the Michigan Wave club team. She was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Midwestern War Games in 2017. She has also helped her hockey team to State Championships in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017.
The incoming eight will join the team for the 2020 season. Last year during their second season in program history, the Wildcats earned their first-ever All-GLIAC selection and their first GLIAC victory. The team also scored more goals while more than doubling their assist total from the inaugural season of 2017.