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Fort Lewis College men’s soccer frustrated in loss to Dixie State

Skyhawks’ Oberholtzer befuddled in loss

The Fort Lewis College men’s soccer team dug a deep hole just moments into Sunday’s match against Dixie State University, and the Skyhawks were never able to climb out of it, as the Trailblazers put four goals away, including two in the opening 11 minutes in a 4-1 win over FLC.

The Skyhawks (6-1-3, 4-1-1 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference) had assistant coach Keane Hamilton sent off for dissent midway through the second half, and Loic Jean-Baptiste was shown a red card in the 66th minute after a high challenge – despite winning the ball cleanly off of his defender. The Skyhawks emerged with more shots, 22-14, and had more clear-cut chances but came away empty-handed.

“I’ve never been a part of a game as odd as what we just experienced, and it was very confusing,” said FLC head coach David Oberholtzer. “To still out-shoot the other team 21-14, that’s a drastic difference. I still thought a good amount of play was pretty one-sided. We were put in a hole early on, and that was difficult to overcome. I still think we could have done a better job of not letting our emotions get the best of us, but, even though we felt like everything was up against us, there was still no quit and a fight from the group.”

FLC entered Sunday’s game having not conceded a goal in four consecutive games, but the streak quickly ended after the referee awarded a penalty kick just 45 seconds into the match for a soft challenge from Ruben Neubauer. Guglielmo Bianchi stepped up and scored from the spot to put the Trailblazers up 1-0.

In the 11th minute, Idris Alabi found the back of the net, as the Skyhawks got caught flat-footed off of a goal kick. Daniel Brubaker played Alabi in on a brilliant through ball pass, and Alabi beat Fort Lewis goalkeeper Peter Byrne for a 2-0 lead.

The Trailblazers (5-4-1, 4-2 RMAC) were able to add to their lead after Tony Foulger made the most of a second opportunity in the 38th minute. He was denied by Byrne, but got a rebound and put it away, despite senior captain Marshall Metzger’s best efforts to clear it off of the line. It was 3-0 at halftime.

In the second half, Fort Lewis created chances, but a second foul in the box derailed much of the team’s early momentum. John Joseph stepped up and converted the kick to make it 4-0.

Trailblazers’ head coach Jonny Broadhead was proud of the way his side bounced back after a narrow 1-0 loss to Colorado Mesa on Friday,

“It’s great to see from our guys the work they put in,” Broadhead said. “Friday night, we had a penalty kick that was saved late on, and for us to score this time, it was big. Seeing the progress from Friday to Sunday was very pleasing. The other goals, that’s stuff we work on. The balls are played where they’re supposed to there, and we got on the end of them.”

Ryan Lee and Hakeem Rabiu did everything to get Fort Lewis back into the match with plenty of offensive prowess, and Lee was able to pull one back, after he received a ball over the top and beat an onrushing goalkeeper to make it 4-1.

FLC continued to fight hard after Dixie State’s Raul Ruiz received a red card, and it was 10-on-10 for the final 25 minutes. Despite having good looks on goal, the Skyhawks would not score again.

“It’s a group that is extremely resilient and plays together,” Oberholtzer said. “Whether that’s coming with a win, that’s an easy time to be resilient. Facing what we faced today and continuing to be resilient, that’s the real test. Super proud of us to be challenged in that way, and they stayed together as a group.”

Metzger thinks Fort Lewis will rebound from the stinger, and said it starts Monday at practice.

“I think we can definitely learn something from this, but it’s important to not dwell on it,” Metzger said. “There’s still a lot of the season to be played. We have to regroup, refocus and not really let this game dictate our season.”

The Skyhawks will hit the road for a three-game road trip, which begins Friday at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (2-6-1, 1-5-0 RMAC) at 7 p.m. at Mountain Lion Field.


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