CMU loses heartbreaker to Fort Lewis
Rebound costly in 1-0 loss
Josh Pittman looked like he’d just been kicked in the gut.
As his defenders, who had worked so hard for 109 minutes, 35 seconds against the defending NCAA Division II national champions, lay on the turf, the Colorado Mesa University men’s soccer coach tried to find something to say.
“Heartbreaking,” Pittman said. “That’s why this game sucks.
“A hundred and 19 minutes and 40 seconds of good, smart soccer and make one mistake. We’ve done this every game, one mistake. We’ve been fortunate to get two wins and a tie out of it, but this is painful.”
Meanwhile, Fort Lewis’s Yannis Becker was busy ripping off his jersey in celebration of his winning goal, and a couple of his teammates were taunting the CMU student section after the Skyhawks’ 1-0 double-overtime victory at Walker Field.
Becker scored the goal on a rebound off the crossbar after a CMU turnover in its own end in the final minute of the second overtime period.
The Skyhawks took a shot as the Mavericks were scrambling back into position after the turnover, but it bounced hard off the top rail. Goalie Micah Conrads came up, and Becker was in the right place at the right time, scoring the goal with only 25 seconds left to play.
The Mavericks (2-2-1, 0-1-0 RMAC) had their chance with 35 seconds left in the first overtime. Kevin Escobar had the angle on the right side of the goal and went for the far corner, but it was just wide.
“Kevin’s been scoring those goals, so we all kind of expected him to finish it,” Pittman said. “That’s why we were disappointed.”
With three minutes to play in the second overtime, Marco Escobar’s corner kick was just a touch too high for Tim Hofer, who was curling around the back side for a header.
The Skyhawks, ranked 22nd in Division II, pressed the attack the entire game, but the Mavericks didn’t back down. In fact, they withstood every run until the last one, and they had the Skyhawks on their heels several times but couldn’t finish.
“We were getting a little bit closer,” Pittman said. “I thought we were getting in behind them a little bit better than they did. If we continue that and defending like this, we’re going to cause other teams in the conference problems. We just have to learn and build from this.”
Sarah Schnetzler trusts her defense, and her defense trusts her.
It was a good combination in the Mavericks’ 0-0 double-overtime draw with second-ranked Fort Lewis.
With 10 seconds left in the first overtime, the Skyhawks’ Sam Weiss had the angle from the left wing and took her shot.
Schnetzler, though, timed her dive perfectly, punching the ball away.
“They got behind our defense, probably the only time they made us look vulnerable, and we all have to do our part on the field,” Schnetzler said. “I hadn’t made any big saves, so I was just waiting, waiting, waiting. I knew something was coming, and I just tipped it around the post.”
With just less than five minutes left in the second overtime, senior defender Jessica Kent backed up Schnetzler, who came out to cut off an angle with three Fort Lewis players in front of the goal.
Kent made a sliding stop on her backside.
“I just saw the girl probably a step in front of me at the time running toward the box, and I had to get on the other side of her, otherwise she would have scored, so I just got a foot on it,” Kent said.
The Mavericks, especially in the first half, got through the Fort Lewis defense, but the timing was off on several runs.
Still, tying Fort Lewis (3-0-1, 0-0-1 RMAC), the No. 2 team in the nation, served a little notice that the Mavs (3-0-2, 0-0-1) are backing up last year’s regional appearance.
“We’re not afraid,” CMU coach Erin Sharpe said. “We know we can compete with these teams.”
The Mavericks (7-2, 1-0 RMAC) had no trouble with New Mexico Highlands (3-6, 0-1) in a 25-15, 25-14, 25-12 rout in a little more than one hour.
Haleigh Higgins led the Mavericks with 10 kills in two sets, with Kelly Regimbal and Christian Otzen recording seven each.
Mesa had only eight attack errors, hitting .391 as a team, and had eight total blocks. Highlands had 25 kills and 22 hitting errors and was never in the match.