If losses were equated to cellphone data usage, the Fort Lewis College mens soccer team has reached its limit.
Not that the Skyhawks need reminding. Theyre acutely aware of the situation.
Nobody knows better than the defending national champions that their room for error is nil. At 7-4-1 overall and 4-3-1 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, theyve dug a bit of a hole in a region thats now tougher to crack for a postseason bid after the South Central got reduced from four playoff spots to three.
But the opportunity remains to make an impact if FLC wins out. Two of the Skyhawks remaining games are with No. 2 Regis, which sports a 10-0-1 overall record. The challenge of sweeping the Rangers is daunting, but the reward could be just what FLC needs.
As a team, we definitely talked about what we have to do to make it back to nationals, FLC defender Kyle Woodson said at Thursdays practice. And were definitely pushing for it. Its always the goal with this college.
Theres also the possibility of a deep run in the RMAC Tournament, which likely would provide FLC with competition the caliber of Regis, Colorado School of Mines, Metro State or Colorado Mesa.
A 2-1 victory over Adams State last Sunday helped the Skyhawks get back in the win column after a home loss to Colorado Mesa. Now they return home to face CSU-Pueblo on a pitch where theyve lost two in a row, the first time thats happened in a decade.
The win over the Grizzlies in Alamosa may have provided FLC a glimpse at the cohesiveness and sense of urgency the team needs going forward.
I think a sense of urgency and a different team spirit that we had, a little bit more of fight for each other and a little bit more of that quality that we probably lacked against Mesa, FLC head coach Oige Kennedy said.
The pressure of living up to last years lofty stature may have taken its toll in some of the earlier losses. Living up to a program-best 24-1 record and a national championship is enough to make anyone try to press, perhaps try to do more than theyre capable of. Reeling that sensation in is critical if the Skyhawks hope to make a run at the postseason in a stacked region that boasts four ranked teams and just three playoff positions.
I think theres always going to be pressure at this program because of where its put itself, and I think thats something these guys are going to have to get used to, Kennedy said of the three-time national champions.
Theres also the need to focus on each individual game and not jump ahead.
FLC has shown its capable of playing with the big guns this year, topping now-No. 13 Incarnate Word earlier this season and playing to a draw with archrival Colorado Mines.
But FLC cant afford to look past CSU-Pueblo or UC-Colorado Springs, which shocked the Skyhawks earlier this season, en route to its first meeting with Regis. If it does, it could cement its spot on the outside looking in.
I mean, were practicing and making sure were not getting ahead of ourselves, Woodson said. Just take it game by game at this point.