Hayley Hollenga said shes feeling as healthy as she has all season.
If thats the case and the Fort Lewis College womens soccer team as a whole is as dialed in as it was Friday, then thats a scary proposition for the rest of the league.
Hollenga scored twice in the first 14 minutes and added a late assist to boost the No. 14 Skyhawks to a resounding 5-0 victory over a shorthanded Adams State side Friday at Dirks Field.
Fort Lewis all-time leader in assists and goals scored said she feels as though shes back up to speed after a bit of a drop in form through the middle of the season.
I feel like every year I kind of go through this, Hollenga said. I start out really strong, then have a little lull period kind of in the middle, and then once the end hits again I kind of feel the need to pick it back up.
The senior striker opened the scoring in the eighth minute. A header off an Adams State defender ricocheted toward the Grizzlies net, and Hollenga was in alone. Goalkeeper Christine Stemple opted against trying to beat Hollenga to the loose ball, staying on her line, and FLCs senior striker made her pay by burying a shot from close range.
In the 14th minute, Sara Egbom played a nice through ball to Hollenga, who ran in and buried a shot into the right side of the net for a 2-0 FLC lead.
This is exactly what we needed was to start coming together at the end of things. ... It seems as if were getting it done now, Skyhawks head coach Damian Clarke said.
The ability of FLC to maintain appropriate spacing between the defensive, midfield and forward lines, long a pet peeve of Clarkes, allowed the Skyhawks to force the issue. When the spacing is tight, FLC is tough to beat. When its not, the Skyhawks are vulnerable.
I thought for the most part we possessed the ball so much better (Friday) because of the distances, Clarke said.
Egbom said this week of practice was spent working on the spacing and getting Fort Lewis (12-1-3, 9-1-2 RMAC) in a proper mindset for the stretch run, which includes dangerous games with New Mexico Highlands on Sunday and with Regis next weekend.
We had Tuesday and Wednesday practices where we just couldnt connect, Egbom said. So (Thursday), we sat down and just mentally refocused, and we went out and got out in our formation and just worked on our spacing in the midfield between the forwards and the defense.
Shea Haycock built the lead to three in the 56th minute, taking Jane Bardens pass and chipping it over a charging Stemple. Egbom got her first of the year in the 73rd, hitting an absolute rocket from the top of the penalty area off a pass from Emma Cannis, tucking it just under the crossbar.
I definitely needed to get that. That helps my confidence as well, Egbom said.
The ever-dangerous duo of Cannis and Hollenga combined on the final tally. Hollenga took Michelle Feltens long free kick and slid a feed to Cannis, who was wide open in front of the net, and the sophomore didnt miss in the 80th minute.
With so many different players getting minutes, Clarke said it was nice to see his side spread the wealth on the scoresheet.
Good for us to get a few more people feeling confident, he said.
Amanda Raso made four saves to earn the shutout for the Skyhawks. Adams State striker Marlene Conner, a Durango High School graduate, played 28 minutes in the loss.