One week after being stunned in the final minutes of double overtime in a 1-0 home loss against nationally-ranked Colorado School of Mines, the Fort Lewis College men’s soccer team got another chance against the Orediggers on Friday.
This time, the match came in Golden a Stermole Soccer Stadium and was played to a similar tune. After playing the opening 80 minutes scoreless, it looked as though another overtime was on the horizon for the two powerful teams. But once again, No. 11 Mines was able to find a late goal, this time as Chris Seery got his foot on a pass from Baptiste Debuire and fired a strong shot into the bottom left of the goal past the reach of FLC goalkeeper Peter Byrne.
Seery’s goal stood up as a game winner, and Mines once again prevailed 1-0 against the Skyhawks.
“We can certainly play with them. We’ve shown that twice now. But both times we haven’t scored a goal,” FLC head coach David Oberholtzer said. “We have created looks in both games and should have scored multiple times and didn’t. We are playing well, but we need the attacking guys to start scoring.”
It was another tough, physical match between two big teams with plenty of skill. But Mines got the better of FLC in the second half. Both teams went into halftime with five shots, but the Orediggers hammered 14 shots at FLC in the second half and put six on goal in the match. FLC finished with seven shots and four on goal.
The Orediggers also had five corner kick chances in the second half after each team had one in the first. FLC finished with only two corner chances the entire match.
“I thought we were the better team the first half. We created plenty of good looks, we just didn’t do enough to test the keeper,” Oberholtzer said. “We should be scoring goals. I think if we take our chances we created early on in the game, it would have been a completely different game.”
Byrne made five saves in goal for FLC. Brian Doherty kept another clean sheet for Mines with four saves.
FLC suffered two injuries to starters. Denis Celik left with a knee 26 minutes into the match. Forward Matt Baldridge also was injured after playing 67 minutes. Oberholtzer felt that contributed to the game’s result, as depth became an issue and tired legs were on the field.
The Orediggers finished the regular season unbeaten at 5-0-1 and will be the top seed in the RMAC tournament, which will begin April 20.
FLC dropped to 3-2-1 overall and 2-2-1 in conference play with the toughest schedule in the conference having faced Mines twice. FLC will close the regular season at 2:30 p.m. Saturday on the friendly pitch of Dirks Field in Durango. Then it is onto the RMAC tournament. FLC is currently fifth in the conference standings and likely won’t get the chance to host a first-round game.
“It’s a quick turnaround,” Oberholtzer said of the Adams State match. “But it’s an opportunity to kind of move past tonight. That said, we have guys beat up. We’d like to put a good performance together, but we’ve been asking for our attacking players to be scoring all year. It’s gotta be do or die time at this point.”