Skyhawks’ men remember themselves on Senior Day

Friday brought a familiar look back to Dirks Field.

The Fort Lewis College men’s soccer team’s touches were crisp, passes were precise, scoring chances bountiful.

The scoreline harkened back to recent successes, too.

The Skyhawks simply overpowered Colorado Christian in a 5-0 victory Friday on Senior Day at Dirks Field.

FLC jumped out early Friday and held the game in its bulldog-like jowls for the duration.

Yannis Becker opened the scoring with a spectacular effort, sliding on the end line and firing a shot back toward the net that deflected off the far left post and went in in the ninth minute.

From then on, it was off to the races for an FLC attack that regained the quickened tempo at which it so loves to play.

“It was a nice return to normalcy,” senior forward Andy Hoffman said with a smile.

The only drama in this one was Hoffman – one of four seniors – and would he or wouldn’t he crack the net. The fan favorite had several near-misses out of his six shots, drawing chants of “An-dee! An-dee! An-dee!” as the game went on. While he wasn’t able to break the seal, it’s an experience he won’t forget.

“It was good, and it kind of reassured me that I’m not crazy and that all the hard work and everything we put in, even if we are on the bench, there comes a point where we can be effective,” Hoffman said.

The remaining seniors had quality games as well. Derek Freeman and Kyle Woodson were part of a superb defensive effort that allowed only one dangerous chance, a shot off the post in the second half.

They helped FLC (9-6-2, 6-5-2 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) to a 45-1 shot advantage over Colorado Christian (1-16-0, 0-13-0 RMAC), including a 20-0 figure in shots on goal.

Daniel Wilson, a senior, also keyed possession in the central midfield and was a key player in a handful of FLC’s offensive chances.

“I think when you have Senior Day, you hope it’s not a distraction. You hope it’s an inspiration to them, and I think they did that,” FLC head coach Oige Kennedy said.

After Becker opened the scoring, Stephan Engeln doubled the advantage in the 29th minute. Becker’s corner kick was tapped back by Casey Dean, and Engeln didn’t miss a wide-open net.

The goal of the match came next: Jordan Alexander, who’s seen sporadic playing time after solid freshman and sophomore campaigns, deflected Wilson’s shot from distance with a back-heel flick facing away from the net that completely changed the shot’s trajectory and beat goalkeeper David Ilgenfritz.

Woodson made his Senior Day a memorable one by pushing the lead to 4-0 in the 80th minute. His salvo from the right side of the penalty area got a piece of a Cougar and tucked inside the left post.

“I mean, my parents are here, I’m in front of my home fans, I couldn’t ask for anything more, honestly,” Woodson said.

In the 81st, Sameth Al-Basith slipped Austin Derksen through, and Derksen buried a low shot from the left side of the penalty area to cap the scoring.

Friday’s match washed the taste of recent poor performances on the road out of FLC’s mouth and gave the Skyhawks their 18th consecutive RMAC Tournament berth. It also gave them confidence heading into Sunday’s daunting matchup with undefeated and No. 1-ranked Regis.

“Yeah, we’ve had a tough season, and some things haven’t gone our way, but we know the quality that’s in the group, and when they perform like that, they’re very hard to beat,” Kennedy said.

rowens@durangoherald.com

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