It’s a rare year that Fort Lewis College men’s soccer isn’t using the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament as a steppingstone toward a long NCAA Tournament run.
More games beyond this weekend are, for all intents and purposes, a pipe dream for this edition of Skyhawks’ soccer. A 2-3-2 home record and a midseason stretch where they went 3-3-2 saw to that. But FLC still has a shot to add some hardware to the collection with a win in the RMAC Tournament, and with a marked uptick in form last weekend, there’s at least a few positive vibes floating around the program.
“I think if you look at how we’ve actually been playing in terms of keeping possession of the ball, it’s something we’ve been proud of the last couple of years,” FLC head coach Oige Kennedy said in a phone interview Monday. “I think we finally got back to it.
“The disappointing part is it took nearly the whole season to get there.”
The improvement mostly was visible in a 5-0 victory over lowly Colorado Christian last Friday. Goals came from all over the pitch as FLC received rejuvenated performances from an inspired crop of seniors, including Derek Freeman, Andy Hoffman, Daniel Wilson and Kyle Woodson.
The Skyhawks continued a quality stretch of play into Sunday’s matchup with undefeated and top-ranked Regis. They went up 1-0 on the Rangers before succumbing 2-1 to the league champs.
“We showed Sunday when we play our style of soccer, we can play with the No. 1 team in the country,” Kennedy said.
FLC will need that style of soccer to pull off a title run as the No. 6 and final seed in the field.
Up first is Metro State, a 1-0 overtime winner over the Skyhawks on Sept. 28 in Denver, a game in which Brenden Hughes scored the winner.
“We probably had the lion’s share of possession in that game, and we probably should’ve won it with the chances we had,” Kennedy said.
A win would earn a matchup with archrival and No. 2 seed Colorado School of Mines in a semifinal in Golden, with a likely rematch with Regis looming in the finals should the Skyhawks get that far.