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Fort Lewis women’s soccer hungry for goals

Skyhawks finding a scoring touch they lacked last season

The excuse was they were young, but they’re only getting older.

The Fort Lewis College women’s soccer team leaned on a large group of freshmen and sophomores last season and struggled to score.

Now with a full season under all of their belts, the Skyhawks are torching nets in the preseason.

They’ve scored eight goals in three exhibition games, including a 3-1 win Saturday in their annual alumni game.

“We were just so goal-hungry, and it’s finally coming to us,” said FLC junior Jordan Hix, who had a goal and an assist in the alumni game.

The goals didn’t flow quite so easily at first, though.

The FLC alumni kept the Skyhawks off the board for the game’s first 41 minutes with a mix of defensive positioning and timely saves from keeper Amanda Raso, who is an assistant on the FLC women’s team.

“It’s a fun environment to come back and play the younger crowd,” said Raso, a 2013 graduate who returned to the program as a coach this season after spending one season as a coach at Midwestern State, where former Skyhawks head coach Damian Clarke went to coach last season.

The Skyhawks eventually found a way through in the 41st minute.

Hix threaded a ball through the defense to sophomore Shannon Harpham, who tapped the ball past Raso’s right side.

That lead didn’t last long, as the alumni countered after the kickoff to score a similar goal by Jane Barden, who played for FLC from 2008-11.

Instead of opening up with the goals, the game tightened at the start of the second half.

“We let down a little bit after, but we were able to pick ourselves up at the end,” said FLC senior Brooke Milliet, daughter of Charlie and Janis Milliet.

Hix made it 2-1 with 6 minutes, 9 seconds to go, and sophomore Alicia Sanchez wrapped up the 3-1 win with a strike from outside the 18-yard box with 30 seconds left.

“The difference, you can see it, last year this was a 1-1 tie,” FLC head coach Jimmy Hall said. “Now they pushed themselves through it and figured it out. Definitely seeing a mature team.”

Hall is entering his first official season as FLC’s head coach after he lead the team last season under the interim tag.

The Skyhawks went 6-8-5 and lost in the first round of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament.

Scoring was a problem all year, as FLC only found the back of the net 11 times in 19 games.

Now FLC boasts a flock of strikers and a team that has grown together.

“There’s a huge growth with our young kids from last year, and I think our young kids have a better support group in the sense of knowing how to step in,” Hall said.

FLC will open its regular season Thursday at Midwestern State against its former head coach Damian Clarke in Wichita Falls, Texas.

They’ll also play Texas Woman’s College on Saturday.

“We’re always looking for a win, but we want a good start with our season so we can go in with our heads held high,” Hix said.


Aug 29, 2015
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