Kapanen Heads Team Finland at Euro Championships

July 17, 2012 - North Central College head women's lacrosse coach Jenni Kapanen recently returned from her first experience as a head coach in international competition, leading her home nation of Finland to a ninth-place finish at the 2012 European Women's Lacrosse Championships, held in late June in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The championships, held every four years, included a total of 12 teams. Finland played seven games in a period of seven days, posting a record of 3-3-1 in just its second appearance in the event. Finland opened the tournament with a 9-2 victory over Latvia, then tied Switzerland, 7-7, before back-to-back 17-0 losses to perennial powers Scotland and Wales and a 18-4 loss to the Czech Republic. Finland bounced back with a 17-6 victory over Switzerland and a 7-4 win over Austria.

"The atmosphere was like nothing I had ever experienced before," Kapanen said. "While the competition on the field was fierce, the camaraderie and positive energy off the field was palpable. We got to meet and interact with players, coaches and officials from all over Europe, and everybody was so friendly and supportive."

Kapanen presided over a training camp in February, which assisted her in finalizing the roster for the tournament, and conducted another preparatory training camp prior to the start of the championships. This past spring, her team at North Central posted an overall record of 7-10, including 5-2 finish in the Midwest Women's Lacrosse Conference. She started the Cardinals' program in 2009 and has led the team to the MWLC Tournament in each of the past two seasons.

It was exhilarating to get to compete against the best teams in Europe and to contribute to the evolution of lacrosse in my native country," Kapanen said. "Just like at North Central, the players on Team Finland were highly competitive, mutually supportive, unassuming and eager to improve.

"It was an unbelievable opportunity, and I'm eager to put some of the new ideas and concepts that I took away from the international level to work at North Central."

Finland is relatively new on the international scene in lacrosse, having established the Finnish Lacrosse Association in 2001. It has been confirmed as a participant in the upcoming Women's Lacrosse World Cup, to be held July 11-20, 2013 in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.

More information about the European Lacrosse Championships can be found at www.ec12lacrosse.com/en.


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