No. 5 FLC rested, ready

Skyhawks’ O will get a taste of Dirks Field

The Fort Lewis College women’s soccer team is riding high early.

The fifth-ranked Skyhawks head into today’s home opener against Angelo State after a week off. Before the down time, the Skyhawks turned in a dominant 3-0 win over Midwestern State and a 4-2 comeback win over Texas A&M-Commerce, both in Wichita Falls, Texas, and they looked good doing it, particularly on offense.

“I can’t complain about the start. ... I guess to be honest with you, we’ve gotten more mature on both sides of the ball,” FLC head coach Damian Clarke said.

Sam Weiss has been the early offensive star this season, potting three goals in the two victories. Clarke was high on her potential in the preseason, and nothing’s changed since the sophomore started getting game action.

“She’s just dynamic. I mean, she’s a different level athlete than most people we play against,” Clarke said before also giving credit to Emma Cannis for helping to facilitate the offense from the front.

Not to be outdone, Megan Striedel has a pair of goals of her own. With a team that’s using a handful of freshmen in key roles, particularly defensively and in the midfield, Clarke was quick to compliment both Striedel and Elena Benavides for the leadership they’ve shown in helping guide a young team to early success.

“Having Elena and Striedel kind of knowing what’s expected of them and having those two kind of leading the charge, I think the kids from nutrition to the way that they’re playing are doing just a little bit more than they have in the past, and a little sacrifice is going a long way,” he said.

The defensive unit has been strong as well, anchored by junior center backs Madyson Wellcome and Lauren Riley. They’ve been joined in the back by Rachael Budagher and the combination of freshmen Laura Tita and Grace Sheridan.

Clarke said he’s pleased with the results racked up so far.

“I think the two center backs are continuing to take charge of the back four, and we’ve got a bunch of young kids that contribute, so I feel like we’re deeper from bottom to top,” Clarke said.

Angelo State (2-1-0) enters today’s 11 a.m. game coming off a 2-0 loss Friday against Colorado Mesa in a game that took place at Dirks Field.

rowens@durangoherald.com