Finlandia women’s soccer looks for more consistency in 2018

Daily Mining Gazette/Jamie Glenn The Lions’ women’s soccer team poses for their team photo during Media Day at McAfee Field Monday. The Lions are looking for improvement this season.

HANCOCK — After a 1-11-1 record in 2017, it is not surprising that the Finlandia Lions went in a different direction at the helm for 2018. Head coach Jordan Andrews returns to the program he had previously been an assistant with. Jumping on board quickly after 2017 came to a close, Andrews has had time to work through the recruiting process, and hopes to quickly put his stamp on this year’s team.

When it came to building his roster, which saw nearly its entirety turnover, Andrews had two ideas in mind.

“When I took it over, I only had two actual soccer players, so the whole time has just been recruiting and getting as many players here as I could,” he said. “(I looked for those who were) talented in the classroom as well as on the field. That’s been the major approach.

“Also (I went about) getting girls that fit the program’s needs in terms of positions and having really high-character athletes; (girls) who are going to be involved in the community and are dedicated students as well.”

The team has some big goals that they are looking to accomplish this season both on and off the field.

“We kind kind of put together some team goals,” said Andrews. “The girls deafinitely have a huge input on that. They want a team GPA of 3.0, so that’s really big. I think we can get that done. The average GPA of freshman coming in is 3.5, so as long as they keep that going I think it should translate into college.”

The second goal is small accomplishments day by day, which leads to finishing strong at the end of the season. That will prove important as the Lions are hosting the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament in November.

“The second one is winning a conference tournament,” said Andrews. “We have an automatic bid in the conference tournament, so if we’re able to get better day by day, training session by training session, we should be able to perform well at the end of the season.”

The team’s final goal might prove to be the key to rest of what the Lions want to accomplish.

“The third one (goal) is how well we get together as a team,” he said. “They really want a family attitude, so they’re going to measure that by (having) team get togethers and stuff like that. The captains have a huge task of putting that together, but I think they’ll do a good job.”

Last season coach Andrews was an assistant coach for both of Finlandia University men’s and women’s soccer teams. Adjusting to this new role means a new approach for a new team.

“(I served as an) assistant for the men’s and women’s programs,” Andrews said. “So this year, it’ll be much easier for myself in terms of (the fact that) I’m able to focus on one program. Bringing in a large number of actual soccer players is going to help a ton and (it) should be able to show right away.”

“We have a lot of young girls, so the approach has to stay the same the whole season. We can’t get ahead of ourselves,” he said.

Players to look out for this season include center midfielder, Kirsten L’esperance, and freshman center back Daisia Knowles.

“I have a center mid,( L’esperance),” he said. “She’s coming off an injury, but her fitness level is super high. She’s got tremendous skill. I think she’ll score a bunch for us.

“We’ve got a center back freshman( Knowles), (who is) really fast and really strong. She came from a high level of soccer background in Colorado. Those two players will be huge.”

“To be honest, we have a lot of players at every position that are going to be contribute,” Andrews said. “Yeah, I named two players, but I want contribution from everyone.”

The Lions will open their season at Northland College next Friday at 4:15 p.m.