It isn’t always easy or pretty, but the Fort Lewis College men’s soccer team keeps finding ways to win more often than not on the road. This one, however, came nearly as close as possible to a tie.
Yannis Becker put in a rebound of a shot off the crossbar in the final minute of the second overtime, and the No. 22 Skyhawks clipped Colorado Mesa 1-0 on Friday in Grand Junction in both teams’ Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference openers.
“I’m starting to lose my hair. I don’t have a lot of it though,” FLC head coach Oige Kennedy said with a chuckle.
Prior to Becker’s heartstopping tally, his fourth on the season, the game statistically had been even. Fort Lewis (4-1-0, 1-0-0 RMAC) held a slim 9-7 advantage in shots and finished with a 7-3 shots-on-goal advantage thanks to a 3-1 margin in the pair of 10-minute overtime periods.
The Mavericks (2-2-1, 0-0-1 RMAC) held the advantage in corner kicks 3-2 and were done in partly by five offsides calls.
“It was kind of back and forth,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think either team did a great job causing problems in the final third (of the pitch).”
Ryan Schaul made three saves to pick up the clean sheet for FLC, while Montezuma-Cortez High School alumnus Micah Conrads stopped five shots for the upset-hungry Mavericks.
The victory allowed FLC to open an always-difficult RMAC schedule to navigate with a win, something only Regis and Adams State also managed Friday. It gives the Skyhawks a leg-up temporarily on the always-game Colorado School of Mines, which tied CSU-Pueblo on Friday and will head to Durango for a 3:30 contest Sunday at Dirks Field. Sunday’s game will be the first appearance at home for the defending national-champion Skyhawks in 2012.
“It’s a huge result,” Kennedy said. “This game was always going to be tough on us. They’re an improving program. ... I think we knew coming up here, having to play at night and travel back to Durango ... was always going to be tough.”