Tough loss: Finlandia men’s soccer falls to Lakeland in tight affair

Photo courtesy of Finlandia Athletics Finlandia midfielder Dare Mayomi chases down a loose ball during a game against Lakeland University Monday at McAfee Field. The Muskies defeated the Lions, 1-0.

HANCOCK — Despite playing a tightly-contested game throughout the entire 90 minutes, the Finlandia Lions men’s soccer team fell at home Monday in a 1-0 loss to the visiting Lakeland University Muskies at McAfee Field.

The Lions were credited with three shots on goal and showed a strong defensive presence throughout much of the second half.

Scott Chrysafidis, head coach for Finlandia, was happy with how the team played defensively despite not getting the win.

“We came out here (with) only one sub on the bench today, but we had all of our guys play a full 90 minutes,” he said. “It was definitely tough (playing) coming off a two-game road trip and only having one day (of) rest.

“We fought hard. We ran hard. We just need to figure out (how to play) offensively. Our defensive (effort) was pretty solid.”

Chrysafidis wants his team to put this loss behind them and focus on improving before their next game at Eureka College on Thursday. They should be closer to full strength with the return of two key players for the match.

“The next game we’ll have two guys back in our system, so when we go to Eureka, we’ll have another center back (and) another guy to put on offense,” Chrysafidis said. “That should help out a lot and the guys should have a full rest before that game.”

Despite Monday being only the third game for the Lions, Chrysafidis has identified some areas he’d like to see the team improve on as the season progresses.

“The biggest thing we can improve on is working on our midfield so the transition from our backline and our offense (is stronger),” he said. “That’s how we’re going to be able to accumulate more shots, (with) more shots we’ll hopefully get more goals.”

“This is the first game that we were scrappy for 90 minutes,” said Muskies coach Rick Mobley. “We got the goal that we needed. Finlandia came out and put it to us in the second half, but the guys did a good job of sticking together, defending and doing whatever it took.”

Lakeland brought 17 freshman to Monday’s match. One of them scored the only goal of the day, freshman Hunter Gorges, who shot one past Lions keeper Noah Raisanen on the left side 23:63 into the first half of play.

“It’s been a long time since Lakeland’s men’s soccer has won a game,” said Mobley. “We play our next match at home, (and) we’d like to make it two in a row.

“Most impressively, out of the 23 guys, we probably brought 17 freshman with us today. To see them go out there get their first win, it’s impressive, and I’m proud of them.”

IT’S BEEN AWHILE

The victory over Finlandia marked the Muskies’ first program win since September 2016, when they defeated Iowa Wesleyan University, 2-0.

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