No. 14 FLC rallies behind the usuals and the unsung

The Fort Lewis College women’s soccer side isn’t a huge fan of conceding goals.

The Skyhawks are even less enamored with having teams ahead of them in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings.

No. 14 FLC erased a bit of both Friday, rallying from an early one-goal deficit to top Adams State 4-1 in a battle of RMAC unbeatens.

Kaylee Smith got the Grizzlies (4-3-0, 2-1-0 RMAC) on the board first with a free-kick goal in the eighth minute as the away team controlled the run of play through the game’s first 10 minutes.

But FLC (5-0-1, 2-0-1 RMAC) didn’t take long to respond, eventually prying open an offensive floodgate.

Emma Cannis drew the Skyhawks even in the 17th minute. Cannis took a feed from Sam Weiss, who was sprinting down the right sideline after a throw-in and scored inside the left post from the top right corner of the penalty area to tie the game at 1.

Weiss’ eighth goal of the season put FLC on top to stay just six minutes later. Brooke Milliet’s pass found the sophomore striker, who rocketed a shot into the upper left-hand corner of the net from about 20 yards out in the 23rd minute.

“Emma deserved to get herself on the scoresheet. A fantastic finish. I thought they both had good goals,” FLC head coach Damian Clarke said.

The action ping-ponged back and forth in the second half between each team’s respective ends before the Skyhawks got back on the offensive. Freshman outside midfielder Kate Sowell provided the fireworks with her first two goals of the year.

Sowell’s first came off a long, over-the-top pass from across the field from Elena Benavides, and Sowell fired low and inside the left post from the right side of the penalty area for a 3-1 FLC lead in the 60th minute.

Seven minutes later, the Parker native struck again. The Grizzlies’ Christie Stemple saved a Weiss shot, but Sowell followed up on the rebound for a 4-1 advantage.

“It was so fun to actually get a goal in the net,” Sowell said.

Clarke said despite the final margin of victory, he wasn’t thrilled with the way his team only possessed the ball in spurts. He cited a lapse in the ability of the outside backs and midfielders to connect and move the play forward with pace as an area the Skyhawks are hoping to clean up going forward, particularly Sunday when No. 11 UC-Colorado Springs comes to town.

“We weren’t as sharp as we wanted to be. We weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. ... I think we just didn’t keep the ball through the midfield obviously as well as we did last Sunday (in a win over Colorado Mines),” Clarke said.

“You know, I think it’s just because we just needed to settle it down, and finally towards the end we started pinging it and finally made it to the top and starting to score,” Sowell said.

FLC goalkeeper Amanda Raso got the start and the victory, but Caitlyn Espinosa played in net for the Skyhawks after halftime. Clarke said he went with Espinosa in part to help continue to fuel the competitive fire that’s made both keepers strong this year.

Stemple turned away a couple of quality chances from Serena Mancha and Molly Celler late in the second half and had a handful of other saves that helped keep her side within striking distance in the first half.

rowens@durangoherald.com