Fort Lewis travelled to Utah for the second time in five weeks for two games against #2 ranked Westminster College and preseason #15 St. Mary’s (CA) this past weekend. The Skyhawks returned home 0-8 on the season after dropping both games. Fort Lax does not leave the state of Colorado for the rest of the season, as their next 7 games include 5 home contests. The first home games of the season are Saturday, March 30th (12:00pm)against Colorado School of Mines, and Sunday, March 31st against the University of New Mexico (1:00pm). The games will be at Santa Rita Park.
The final game in the annual battle between RMLC D2 Western Conference rivals Westminster College and Fort Lewis was a decidedly one-sided affair. Westminster is making the move to D1 next season, and showed that they are almost ready to hold their own as they continue to steamroll D2 competition. The 24-2 final score was the result of sloppy Fort Lewis play, multiple FLC penalties, and merciless offense by Westminster, who left their starting offense in for the entire game. It was an uncharacteristic move by Westminster brought on by continued physical play by the young Skyhawks squad. For all the big hits, Fort Lax could manage only 2 unassisted goals by Grant Arthurs and Max Segal on the afternoon. MCLA #2 Westminster’s only loss in D2 is to #1 St. Thomas by one goal, so their sights are set on winning a national championship in their last D2 chance. For Fort Lewis, the goal is still to just figure out how to win a game.
Against St. Mary’s on Sunday morning, the Skyhawks had a chance to win a big one, but a lack of composure when the Gaels fought back cost the Fort another W. The game opened with St. Mary’s taking a 2-1 lead after the first quarter, where both teams established that it would be a very evenly matched contest. The Fort struck early and often in the 2nd quarter with 6 goals, from a variety of Fort Lewis players. The defense surrendered 2 goals in the period, including an unfortunate own-goal on a messy groundball back to the goalkeeper, and the Skyhawks led 7-4 at the half. Despite feeling confident and playing disciplined in all facets early on, the 3rd quarter saw 8 unanswered goals by St. Mary’s to blow the game wide open. Five minutes in penalties by the Skyhawks gave the Gaels the opening they needed to exploit some defensive miscues, and repeated offensive turnovers took away any chance the Fort had to stabilize. Down 12-7 going in to the final frame, the Skyhawks still had no answer for St. Mary’s midfielder Nikolaas Vanderklugt (#5) whose 6 goals were the difference in the game. Despite a barrage of shots, the game ended with a 17-11 victory for St. Mary’s. The offensive resurrection for the Fort was overshadowed in the end by a continued rash of stupid penalties and a lack of timely ball control. For a young team struggling to figure out how to win, letting this one slip away will sting for awhile.
For complete game stats for both games, go to http://mcla.us/team/ft_lewis/2013/schedule.html