Jerry McBride/Durango Herald
Both teams had their opportunities in an expectedly tight, chippy contest between Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference soccer rivals.
Each team took advantage of one such opportunity.
No. 22 Fort Lewis College and the men’s soccer team from Colorado School of Mines scored 30 seconds apart in the second half en route to a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon at Dirks Field.
Fort Lewis, playing without key cogs Kosta Kordistos, Stephen Engeln and Grant Duke, got on top in the 57th minute.
Alberto Capdepon’s long ball from the left side of the pitch found a streaking Casey Dean, who flicked the ball past a charging Manville Strand for a 1-0 lead.
“Casey’s been immense this season with his goals, chipping in on his assists and stuff, so I’m really happy with what he’s doing on the offensive end,” Fort Lewis men’s head coach Oige Kennedy said.
Just moments later, a Colorado Mines player was taken down in the penalty area and awarded a penalty kick.
Tesho Akindele, the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s leading scorer, buried it to square the game.
Kennedy vehemently argued the call, claiming the Fort Lewis defender actually beat the Mines attacker to the ball and won it before the foul was committed, a view he still held afterward.
“From my view, I’ll have to look at it again on the video ... looked like our defender won the ball,” Kennedy said.
The two overtimes posited a couple of chances for Fort Lewis. Derek Freeman couldn’t quite get the right angle on a volley attempt in the first overtime, and a blocked shot off the foot of Dean in the second extra period had the FLC bench clamoring for a hand ball call that never came.
The Skyhawks, however, were less disappointed with the two calls than they were with their own ability in the attacking third.
The Fort Lewis men (4-1-1, 1-0-1 RMAC) had plenty of chances, especially in a long stretch in the first half when the Skyhawks dominated possession, but couldn’t make the necessary runs, crosses or passes to get the best opportunity to score, while Strand racked up seven saves for the Orediggers, none of them particularly difficult.
“It’s always frustrating when you come out hard and strong, and you’re not able to capitalize on the opportunities that you do have. ... We came out with intensity, but it just wasn’t there in front of goal,” midfielder Aaron Kloer said.
Colorado Mines (3-1-2, 0-0-2 RMAC) had several opportunities, forcing Ryan Schaul to make five saves for Fort Lewis.
The best perhaps came in the first half, when Akindele made a nice run down the left side, only to fire his shot over the crossbar.
The Fort Lewis men now must regroup physically after a taxing weekend that included two double-overtime games. The Skyhawks lost both Daniel Wilson and Maik Brandt to injuries Sunday and will lose Yannis Becker for the next game after he received a soft red card.
“It’s been absolutely stressful on the body, but we’ve got good staff,” Kloer said.