On a day in which the Fort Lewis College football team was awarded a win for a game canceled in the second quarter by weather, the FLC women’s soccer team was forced to move on from a game it led 4-3 early in the second half because of weather.
The Skyhawks (1-1) appeared to be on their way to a key regional win Thursday at West Texas A&M in Canyon, Texas. Skylar Byrnes scored early followed by goals from Emma Patron, Valerie Maestas and Diana Sifuentes each scored to help send FLC to a 4-3 advantage, but the match was called off because of weather in the 63rd minute. Per NCAA rules, the game was ruled a no contest, and no statistics from the game would count. The match would have needed to be played for 70 minutes to be ruled an official contest.
Still, the Skyhawks could be happy with their effort.
“We gotta look at it in the right way. This game was not for nothing,” FLC head coach Damian Clarke said. “In a certain sense, we are able to walk away with a bit of a moral victory. I don’t necessarily like that as an answer, but, when you’re playing against a team that’s been as good as that team has over the last five to six years and us trying to take steps to get back to what we once were, a game like that can, in a sense, be a moral victory.”
Each team had 17 shots, but it was the accuracy of the Skyhawks that paid off. FLC had 13 shots on goal to nine for the Buffaloes.
West Texas A&M (1-1) saw an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Khaline Jacob in the eighth minute slip away only four minutes later when Patron assisted Byrnes for the first goal.
But the Lady Buffs would take a 3-2 lead with goals from Hannah Kelley-Lusk and Emily Avila, with the Kelley-Lusk goal coming only 34 seconds after Byrnes’ early equalizer. Avila’s 24th-minute goal gave the home team a two-goal edge.
Patron scored in the 41st minute to cut the deficit to one goal at halftime. Not even a minute out of the intermission, Maestas found an equalizer goal. Sifuentes then scored the go-ahead FLC goal only a minute before the match was brought to a halt.
“I’ve never seen a game like that, honestly. Not in 20 years of coaching,” Clarke said. “Both teams were hitting quick scores. It’s quite often that you do score right after someone scores on you because teams are susceptible in those moments to having a mental lapse. but both teams did it, from their back-to-back goals in the beginning to ours right at the beginning of the second half. That was a real punch in the gut to them because I don’t think they expected that pressure we were able to maintain.
“I’m at a loss for words about the game.”
Britt Blomso made five saves in goal for the Skyhawks, while Natasha Worm made nine for the Lady Buffs.
The game was delayed by more than an hour before the decision was made to cancel the game.
Now, FLC will get ready to face Eastern New Mexico at 1 p.m. Saturday before getting ready for Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play. Clarke is pleased with the direction his team has taken and its ability to score more goals.
“I think last year if we were in a 3-1 deficit, it would have felt pretty hopeless,” he said. “The team now has a very forward-thinking mindset as far as trying to put ourselves in situations to press high and create mistakes. I don’t think we’ve seen the most of what we’re going to be able to do as the year goes on with the attacking piece.
“Eastern is a super tough team that last season got to the conference final for the first time in program history. They are going to be solid, and I don’t see the next game being any easier for us. We will have to perform at least as well as tonight to come out with a result.”