A year without NCAA Tournament soccer for Fort Lewis College is a rare one, indeed.
So rare you have to go back nearly a decade to find such an occurrence – until this year.
The last time both the FLC men’s and women’s sides missed out on the national tournament was 2003 until nether was selected to continue on in a chase for a national title when the NCAA Division II brackets were released Monday.
The Skyhawk women, who finished 13-4-3, had the better chance of the two to qualify, instead missing out for the first time since 2008. They likely became the victim of a numbers game, with the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference putting up a slew of good teams, alongside the South Central Region’s top two seeds, Dallas Baptist and St. Edwards. West Texas A&M earned the Lone Star Conference’s automatic bid.
The biggest nail in the FLC coffin may well have been hammered in from midfield. A win in the season finale over Regis may have boosted their profile, but a crazy Marissa Davis goal from the center line allowed the Rangers to eke out a 3-3 draw.
Play in the region begins Thursday when No. 4 Colorado Mines meets No. 5 Regis in Dallas, with the winner set to meet No. 1 seed Dallas Baptist on Saturday. On the other side of the bracket, No. 3 Metro will play West Texas A&M on Friday in Austin, Texas, with the winner meeting No. 2 St. Edward’s on Sunday.
After finishing 9-8-2, there was little hope the FLC men would get a shot at defending the national championship. With just three slots in the South Central Region, there wasn’t that much room for error. Colorado Mines and Incarnate Word will meet Saturday in Golden, with the winner meeting the region’s top seed and the nation’s No. 1 team, Regis, at a date and time to be determined.