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Skyhawks struck by a scorpion against No. 14 Mines

Iliozer delivers winning goal in second OT to beat Fort Lewis

Turned toward the goal with a one-touch pass floating his direction, Azad Iliozer lifted his right foot behind him and got the bottom of his cleat on the ball. Like a scorpion, he flicked the ball over his shoulder and past Fort Lewis College goalkeeper Peter Byrne for a goal that sent the 14th-ranked Orediggers running onto the field in celebration and the previously undefeated Skyhawks tumbling to their home grass in disbelief.

“I knew it was coming behind me, so I just tried something,” Iliozer said after a few laughs. “I put it on the goal, and the rest was just amazing.”

The stunning finish ended a brilliant collegiate men’s soccer game from teams that entered the match undefeated in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The two sides played through regulation and the first overtime without a goal, and time ticked under three minutes to play in the second overtime with two exhausted teams searching for a game-winning goal.

And after FLC had been the more dangerous team much of the match and especially in the first overtime, Mines (4-0-0, 4-0-0 RMAC) began to assert itself in the attacking third of the field in the final five minutes of play, with Iliozer frequently getting the ball on the left wing and making moves to try to beat the FLC defense. But finding an open shooting lane never happened until Iliozer’s fantastic finish off an assist from Talon Stanley.

“It was very cool that we win the game,” said Iliozer, a junior from Saint-Péray, France. “It was very hard to go through all those minutes of the game. We were brave and all together, and the bench was ready to come in and play and fight. We did and got a good result.”

Denis Celik of Fort Lewis College battles for the ball while playing Colorado School of Mines on Thursday at FLC.

It was a tough loss to swallow for the Skyhawks (2-1-1, 1-1-1 RMAC) after playing so hard and feeling like they were the better team much of the match.

“The effort was great. I thought we were on the front foot the majority of the time. It’s an unfortunate way to end it, but super proud of the boys and their effort,” FLC head coach David Oberholtzer said. “At the end, you’re playing 110 minutes, it ended up being kind of a track race back and forth. Balls were going in the box on both ends. Unfortunately, it fell to that guy’s foot, and he was able to put it in. It’s a bummer. I thought our guys deserved a bit more from this game.”

Loic Jean-Baptiste of Fort Lewis College battles for the ball while playing Colorado School of Mines on Thursday at FLC.

FLC had a few strong chances off set pieces in the first overtime. A free kick from a few paces outside the right elbow of the 18-yard box from Loic Jean-Baptiste went just wide of the net. On a perfectly played corner kick from Moises Durazo, FLC center back Milen Manchev soared into the air and struck the ball strongly with his head. But the shot just grazed over the top of the crossbar.

The Skyhawks played stout defense all game to limit Mines to only three shots on goal. Byrne made two saves, including one fantastic diving stop in the opening minute of the second half on a shot from Tristan Semelsberger.

FLC tallied 15 shots and put six on goal.

Andres Hernandez of Fort Lewis College battles for the ball while playing Colorado School of Mines on Thursday at FLC.

“We had good individual and group defending, and we didn’t give up too many good looks. I thought we were pretty comfortable and made them uncomfortable,” Oberholtzer said. “I thought we could have done better on some chances early in the game, and we were dangerous in a couple other moments. We had them on their heels the whole time, but we need to find a way to put one away and give ourselves some breathing room.”

It was a highly physical match between two large teams. The sides will meet only eight days later at 6 p.m. April 9 in Golden. FLC will first visit Colorado Christian at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

“We knew what to expect. We have to execute a bit more on our end, and our guys are already motivated to come out again and see them in a couple of games,” Oberholtzer said.


Ryan Lee of Fort Lewis College battles for the ball in front of the Colorado School of Mines goal on Thursday at FLC.
Apr 1, 2021
Fort Lewis College gains belief against No. 13 Colorado School of Mines

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