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Smith RMAC Defensive Player of the Year for Fort Lewis College

Fort Lewis junior adds to trophy case
Katie Smith of Fort Lewis College was named the RMAC Defensive Player of the Year for the spring 2021 season.

Fort Lewis College can claim the best defensive women’s soccer player in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

Katie Smith, a junior from Grand Junction and a graduate of Fruita Monument High School, was named the RMAC Defensive Player of the Year last week, and she also was a Second Team All-RMAC selection in the midfield. The award backed up her First Team All-RMAC selection her freshman season and Second Team All-RMAC award in 2019.

Smith became the first FLC player to win defensive player of the year since Lauren Riley in 2013. She scored once during the shortened spring season.

Defensively, she helped FLC record three shutouts and finish fourth in the conference as a unit in goals allowed. She had a huge play in the 1-0 loss to Westminster in the RMAC tournament quarterfinals, when she was there to clear a ball away off the goal line after Westminster had beat goalkeeper Katie Dunbabin.

FLC had several other RMAC award winners from the season that was postponed from the fall and moved to the spring. Earning First Team All-RMAC status were freshmen Elizabeth David and Aubrey Swindle. Also on the second team was senior Corinne Sanderson, and honorable mention status went to seniors Diana Sifuentes and Charlie Kaiser.

Swindle proved to be a strong forward, as she used her speed to get around opposing defenses and score a team-high four goals, the sixth most in the conference this season.

As a freshman, David led FLC in minutes played from her defensive position. She had two assists, too. Sifuentes was another of the strong FLC players on the defensive back line, and she also added one assist.

Sanderson scored three more goals for FLC to go with two assists. The transfer from Idaho State will graduate and not return to the Skyhawks next season.

Kaiser was a strong player on the ball in the midfield. She had one assist in her return from an injury that took her out of the 2019 season. She missed much of the second half of FLC’s loss to Westminster in the RMAC tournament with another injury.

CSU-Pueblo would beat Westminster on penalty kicks 5-4 in the RMAC tournament championship Sunday. The game was tied 2-2 after regulation and two overtimes to send it to the shootout. The ThunderWolves, which won their first RMAC women’s soccer title in school history, had beat Colorado School of Mines in PKs in the semifinals, while Westminster beat tournament host University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the other semifinal.

The RMAC men’s soccer title went to Colorado School of Mines. After beating Fort Lewis 5-1 in the semifinals, the Orediggers claimed their fourth consecutive RMAC tournament title in a 4-3 win against host Colorado Mesa University on Sunday in overtime.


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