Like homemade beer, sometimes it takes a lot of tries, near misses and maybe a little too much time to get a soccer goal just right.
But like any experienced home brewer, Megan Striedel knew the Fort Lewis womens soccer team had its recipe and ingredients all straightened out before her go-ahead goal lifted the Skyhawks over Colorado Christian on Friday afternoon; all the team had to do was wait.
It had been brewing for a while, Striedel said. I knew we were going to put one in; it was just a matter of time.
So when forward Hayley Hollenga threaded the ball through the legs of two Cougar defenders, Striedel decided the Skyhawks had waited long enough, forcing keeper Mackenzie Averill to commit left before slipping the ball to the right and into the goal corner.
Coming almost 24 minutes into the second half, the goal put Fort Lewis up 2-1 to clinch the win over Colorado Christian (2-12-0, 1-9-0 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference). But in a game where the Skyhawks (10-1-3, 7-1-2 RMAC) dominated in possession, Striedels scoring shot had been a long time coming.
Over the course of the match, FLC outshot Colorado Christian 29-5, with Averill coming up with a few big saves for a total of eight.
The Cougar keepers strong play wasnt the only element that kept the Skyhawks from dominating the scoreboard, though, as FLC failed to capitalize on a multitude of easy scoring chances, including two wide-open-net fumbles in the first half on 17 shots.
The Skyhawks first goal came after pushing the attack in Cougar territory for almost 35 minutes, when freshman forward Sam Weiss gave her girls their first lead off a corner-kick rebound and blocked shots from both forwards Emma Cannis and Hollenga, finding the net through a veritable wall of colliding bodies.
Weiss, who led the team with three shots on goal, credited her tally to her teams execution of the same skills they practiced all week.
The Skyhawks again set the tempo in the second half, but a single lapse in otherwise dominant defensive play allowed Colorado Christian midfielder Ciara Meredith to resurrect the Cougars hopes of securing their second win of the season.
Off a booming, bouncing punt by Averill, Meredith beat two Skyhawk defenders and keeper Amanda Raso who only had to save a single shot throughout the match to even up the score 10 minutes into the second half.
But Striedel said her team never lost its composure and kept to its style of play.
We just have to get it together and do what we do and play soccer, Striedel said.
Fourteen minutes after the Cougars game-tying goal, Striedels slow-brewing salvo put the Skyhawks back on top for the remainder of play.
After the match, FLC head coach Damian Clarke said he was pleased with his girls performance against a team thats given its opponents trouble all season.
We expected a tough game, Clarke said. Hats off to them.
He credited the Skyhawks ability to control the ball and keep possession for the win, and he said aside from needing to clean up the bouncing ball that led to the Cougars game-threatening goal, the Skyhawks fielded a team that looked strong both on offense and defense going forward.
Weiss said the win wasnt an easy one, but it was a good one to pull in front of the local crowd.
We deserved it, I think, she said. It came with hard work.