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FLC lacrosse looks to build on last year’s success

Team begins season Friday in Utah
Fort Lewis goalie Averi Basso, pictured last season, is back between the pipes for the Skyhawks this year. Basso earned second-team All-RMAC honors last year. (Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The Fort Lewis College women’s lacrosse team, coming off a successful 2021 campaign, is eager to get the new season started.

The wait is almost over.

FLC will begin its season Friday with a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference battle versus Westminster College in Salt Lake City.

“I believe going into the new season, we are looking to build off our success with a few new recruits that we are expecting big things from,” said FLC head coach Ashley Travis. “We also have a bigger and fuller game schedule that will increase our opportunity to play someone else. And now our team culture and environment has grown to have clear expectations based off last season.”

Fort Lewis was selected to finish fifth in the RMAC, according to the coaches poll. Defending regular season and RMAC Tournament champion Regis University earned the top spot, receiving six first-place votes and 36 vote points. Colorado Mesa (29 points) and UCCS (26 points) were voted second and third, respectively, while UCCS earned one first-place vote. Westminster received 18 votes, Fort Lewis received 17, CSU Pueblo received 15, and Adams State got six.

The Skyhawks finished the 2021 season 5-7 overall and 4-5 in RMAC play. The team is also coming off a semifinal appearance in the RMAC Tournament, its first appearance since the 2018 season. Fort Lewis returns a strong core of contributors from last year’s team while adding nine newcomers to its roster.

The team’s key returners include Averi Basso, Haley Dostie, Rebecca Kiyokawa and Ellie Martinez.

Basso was the team’s starting goalkeeper all season, playing 705 minutes between the pipes and picking up 106 saves. Basso earned second-team All-RMAC nods for her efforts in the net.

Dostie is the team’s top offensive weapon heading into the 2022 campaign after a 26-point (22 goals, 4 assists) season last year en route to first-team All-RMAC recognition.

Kiyokawa started in all 12 games for the Skyhawks, picking up five goals as a defender and leading the team with 41 ground balls.

Martinez returns after a successful freshman campaign in which she started in 12 games and tallied 15 points (11 goals, 4 assists).

“Fans can look forward to seeing us play a fast-paced game with a new defense on the horizon,” Travis said. “Our girls don’t want to wait around for the other team – we want to go out and get the ball. Our expectations are to play a fast-paced very intelligent game of lacrosse. A lot of things we are looking at moving forward with is a very team-oriented attack. Our team believes in working together to accomplish the goal instead of having one or two people be the main aspect of everything we do.”

After the season opener, FLC will travel to Colorado Mesa University for a 1 p.m. game Sunday. The following Sunday at 1 p.m., the Skyhawks make their home debut against McKendree University at Ray Dennison Memorial Field. After the home opener, the team will face Rockhurst University for a neutral site game in Pueblo.

The Skyhawks will then lather on the sunscreen and head to Florida for a pair of games versus Lynn University and Palm Beach Atlantic University on March 23 and 25. It will be the first time that the program has faced either school.

The Skyhawks will head right back into conference play after the trip south, playing 10 games versus RMAC foes to lead into the conference tournament.