Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Emma Cannis and Sam Weiss had been trying to connect perfectly all day, coming close several times.
They perfected the combination at the best possible time.
Cannis drew a defender to her at the top of the penalty area, then slid a gorgeous through ball to Weiss, who scored in the lower right-hand corner of the net to give the No. 2 Fort Lewis College women’s soccer team a 1-0 win in overtime over an always-tough Colorado Mines side on Sunday afternoon at Dirks Field.
The duo had been trying to work the same play seamlessly most of the afternoon, and persistence paid off 1:59 into the extra frame.
“Me and Sam have always connected well,” Cannis said, grin plastered from ear to ear. “I had enough time to take a touch, and then seeing her, I always see her, and she made the perfect run.”
It was the first time Fort Lewis (4-0-1, 1-0-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) had been able to solve the mystery of Mines goalkeeper Jayln Yates all afternoon.
Yates turned away six shots, often in spectacular fashion, including a spectacular save on a rocket from Cannis in the 81st minute.
“Keep it low. Keep it near post. Make her work for it,” Weiss said of finally solving Yates.
“Without a doubt, that’s the best goalkeeping I think I’ve ever seen in the women’s game,” Fort Lewis head coach Damian Clarke said. “If the U.S. national team saw that, Hope Solo may be in trouble.”
Equally up to the task, however, was Fort Lewis goalkeeper Amanda Raso, who stopped four shots – her best on a Deirdre Johnson shot from point-blank range in the 72nd minute.
That save helped cap a solid defensive effort for the Skyhawks against an offense that boasts powerful players such as Anna Evans and Megan Woodworth.
“She’s amazing,” Weiss said of Raso. “She’s been doing amazing lately. ... I think she’s grown a lot, and I think she’s someone we can trust back there.”
The result appeared to be a just reward for the Skyhawks’ persistence and ball control in the second half. Fort Lewis did allow a couple of chances to Mines on the counterattack after intermission, but otherwise kept the ball and kept trying to find holes in the stingy Orediggers’ defense.
“We deserved that the entire game. ... I felt as though possession-wise and football-wise, that’s as good as we’ve ever been,” Clarke said.
As good of a day as it was for Weiss, who scored for the seventh time in just five games, it was Cannis’ ability to distribute from the top of the attack that helped set up much of what the Skyhawks were hoping to do offensively.
The junior striker has assumed a bit of a leadership role at the top and has settled in nicely as a distributor and potent weapon after playing alongside the dynamic Hayley Hollenga the last two seasons.
“I like it. Sam’s just a perfect player to have on the other end. ... Now it’s kind of flipped. I’m the more experienced player, but I have someone good next to me,” Cannis said.
The victory also got the monkey off the back of the Skyhawks when it came to the Orediggers (3-2-1, 0-1-1). Mines eliminated the Fort Lewis women from the NCAA Tournament and RMAC Tournament last year along with a regular-season victory.
Sunday, it was the Skyhawks’ turn to do some celebrating of their own.
“How we ended last year was just horrible. ... To get revenge like this, it doesn’t get much better,” Cannis said.
FLC will host Adams State at 1 p.m. Friday.