By Ron Rop

It’s been a busy 3 months since Jeff Lohman took over as coach of the women’s soccer team at Muskegon Community College. lsj-fb-logo

How busy has it been? For starters, Lohman stepped into the program with no players signed for the upcoming season. Three months later, he boasts a roster of 25 women, the most in the program’s short history.

The Jayhawks now have seven sophomores returning including Melodie Glotzbach (Orchard View), Kortnie Heinig (Mona Shores), Kelli Kersting (Fruitport), Aliza Olsen (Oakridge), Kaitlin Richardson (Reeths-Puffer), Caitilin Hughey (Fruitport) and Kaylie Cartright (Reeths-Puffer).

“We feel we have 16-17 women who could start for us, which will be a challenge,” Lohman said. “We will have five or six women on the bench at any point in the game who have the ability to give us quality minutes.”

2015 Muskegon Community College Women's soccer team.

2015 Muskegon Community College Women’s soccer team.

That group includes a trio of sophomores who have transferred into the program. They include Amanda Skidmore (Orchard View), Jaitey Glaser (Reeths-Puffer) and Emily Sexton (Grand Haven).

Lohman also welcomes his freshmen recruits in Lauren Maus (Fruitport), Lyric Glaser (Reeths-Puffer), Paige Baustert (Reeths-Puffer), Megan Larabee (Oakridge) and Jasmine Alvarado (Muskegon). The Jayhawks’ goalkeepers also are freshmen with Megan McFarland (Orchard View) and Mackenzie Wozniak (Muskegon Catholic).

Preparations for the season also included a three-day training camp in Chicago.

“It was important for me to get the women to buy into our system right away so we had three days packed with practice sessions and a systematic team development program,” Lohman said. “It was impressive to see the women come away from that weekend as one unit and now the challenge is to keep that cohesiveness throughout the season.”

One focus for Lohman is improving his team’s success on the road, where the Jayhawks won just one of seven games. That was one of the reasons for having some training sessions away from the comforts of home.

Lohman is focusing on developing what he calls “The Jayhawk Way” of playing soccer. It revolves around the areas of competing, challenging, communicating, connecting, confident and coachable.

“We are working to make this experience for the women more than just about soccer,” Lohman said. “My vision is to develop strong, independent women to have a mindset to succeed in life, in the classroom and on the field.”

Lohman, who takes over the head coaching job from Josh Watson, has plenty of help among his coaching staff. Assistants include Nate Tabler, Andrew Johnson and Nikki Heinig.

The Jayhawks open the season Aug. 23 at Davenport University. Game time is 5 p.m.

MCC will have its first three games on the road. The home opener is slated for Sept. 16 against Lake Michigan College. The game, which will be played at Orchard View High School, begins at 4 p.m.