TAMPA, Fla. - More than two weeks ago, David Barden hobbled onto Dirks Field with a pair of crutches supporting his
There to watch the Fort Lewis College women's postseason game in a Durango snowstorm, the FLC men's team striker had
suffered a bad sprain in his dominant right foot in a boot-on-boot collision the day before with a West Texas A&M
Days later, still smarting from the accident, an X-ray revealed a broken bone.
The senior dressed but sat out the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer Championships quarterfinal, in what was his final
collegiate home game and what could have been the player's final collegiate soccer match.
I trusted the boys to get us where we are," he said.
Barden lent a hand - and a foot, a chest, a head and a set of fresh legs - to his boys with a hat trick, an assist
and seven points in the top-ranked Skyhawks' 8-2 victory against No. 6 Le Moyne in the NCAA Division II Men's Soccer
Championships semifinal Thursday afternoon at University of Tampa Pepin Stadium.
Ten shots, eight goals, can't complain about that," Barden said.
That was like practice."
Eventually, it was like practice."
Early, and abruptly, it was a 1-0 deficit.
Angelo Reina, the Dolphins' sniper up top, squeezed between Fort's center defenders Jamie Cunningham and Fabian Kling
in the 16th minute to give Le Moyne a 1-0 advantage in the national semifinal.
Time ticked slowly over the next seven minutes with nary a threat but the idea of rain from an overcast sky.
Tom Settle, however, drew a corner kick in the 22nd minute.
Sam Morris, who chanced his injured shoulder with a start at left fullback, took the service from the southwest
corner of the pitch.
Kling headed it toward the far bar, and Euan Purcell half-volleyed it home for a 1-all game.
That first goal, not a problem," Settle said of the early disadvantage. I still thought we were going to win that
That second goal helped.
Settle, again, drew a corner kick in the 37th minute.
Morris, again, took the service from the southwest corner, but Zach Kuzemka intercepted the pass with a hand ball.
About 10 yards from the corner, Settle presided over the direct kick. He found Kling, who redirected a header hard
toward the near post, which was in turn headed off the goal line by the Dolphins' D back to Settle.
Settle played the far post, and Barden headed it to net for a 2-1 lead.
That second goal, I think everybody relaxed after that," said Barden, who subbed in at the 25-minute mark. We took
control of the game after that, started moving the ball side to side, one-touch, two-touch."
That third goal opened the floodgates.
Barden started the second half, and the senior striker chested an improbable game-winning goal from about 30 yards
out inside the near post for a 3-1 lead just 79 seconds into the second half.
Jeff Jennings kicked a hard strike from the 40, and Barden, who raised his fists to his shoulders almost in
self-defense, somehow redirected the shot on goal.
I just kind of moved to where I thought the shot was going to be," Barden said with a sheepish smile.
After that third goal, I knew we were going to score a few more," Settle said.
That fourth goal was a game-breaker.
Four minutes from Barden's game-winner, Kyle Wood and Settle constructed a goal along the right side of the pitch.
Wood played Settle, Settle played the box, Barden pinballed a header to the near post, and Purcell finished it for a
As soon as that fourth goal went in, I think our whole team put our heads down," Reina said.
Barden earned his hat trick 35 seconds later - a sweeping right-footed one-timer off a cross from Wood.
David and Euan, those are two big boys in the box," Settle said. When a cross comes in, they know where to run."
Reina scored his 20th goal of the season in the 59th minute.
FLC rallied with another frenzy.
After its three-goal blitz in four minutes earlier in the half, FLC added another triumvirate in five minutes: Settle
from Cunningham; Joe Barnd from Byron Cephers; Barnd from Settle, the latter's Division-II best 24th assist this
We make it a point every game, from start to finish, keep the tempo high, keep the pressure high," said Oige
Kennedy, Fort Lewis' 27-year-old first-year head coach. Not many teams can live with that."
Le Moyne couldn't.
No. 9 Lees-McRae defeated No. 20 Lewis University 5-4 in penalty kicks in the other semifinal Thursday, coming back
from a 2-nil deficit with less than five minutes to play in regulation to force overtime.
We sat down in August and set a goal to win a national title," said Kennedy, whose side will play the championship
game at 2 p.m. (MST) Saturday. We've got one more game to win."
For Barden, who had just four practices under his heavily duct-taped shoes before Thursday, it's more than just a
game: It's revenge.
We have regrets," said Barden, who is tied with Settle for third place in the program's record book with 97 points.
Barden, Settle and Zane Wells finished runner-up for the national championship in 2006, the year after FLC claimed
its first crown.
Looking back, we have regrets," he said, looking to his right at Settle and Wells. This is our second chance, and