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90th minute goal lifts Grand Canyon to draw with No. 6 Fort Lewis

Published: September 12, 2011

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Chelsea Santos scored on a volley from the top of the box in the final minute of regulation play to lift Grand Canyon (1-2-1 overall) to a 2-2 draw with No. 6 Fort Lewis (3-0-1) in nonconference soccer action today at Walker Field.

Freshman forward Sam Weiss scored a pair of goals for the Skyhawks — markers that looked like they might stand up for FLC’s fourth straight win to start the season. Instead, Santos hit what fifth-year FLC head coach Damian Clarke called “an unsavable half-volley” with 45 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.

Still, Clarke had nothing but praise for his side.

“I think we learned a lot about ourselves,” he said. “We got better today, that’s for sure. Grand Canyon is a tournament quality team, for sure.”

Clarke said that Weiss, in particular, has found her stride. “She’s an absolute monster,” he said of his prize recruit from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz. “If Sam was a bit luckier in the first half, we probably could have been up 3-0 or 4-0. We absolutely destroyed them the majority of the first half. We didn’t quite put away our opportunities.”

Weiss scored early, converting a through ball from Emma Cannis into a goal just 4:34 into the contest to put the Skyhawks ahead 1-0.

The lead held until the ‘Lopes countered at 62:15 on a blast by Marina Nesic off a free kick to level the score at 1-1.

“Their No. 11 is a Serbian national team player — probably the best player we’ll see all year,” said Clarke

Weiss gave FLC the lead three minutes later when she took a through ball from junior midfielder Elena Benevides, dribbled around GCU goalkeeper Stephanie Phillips, and scored from the left side at 65:22 to put the Skyhawks back on top 2-1.

That set up Santos’ last-minute score.

Neither team could find the back of the net in the two 10-minute overtime periods that followed.

Fort Lewis was outshot by the ‘Lopes 18-15, but owned a 12-10 advantage in shots on goal. Phillips made 10 saves for GCU, while sophomore Amanda Raso stopped eight shots for FLC.

Fort Lewis opens both Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference play and its home schedule this weekend when it hosts Colorado State-Pueblo (3-1-0 overall) at 3:30 p.m. Friday and Nebraska-Kearney (2-2-0) at 1 p.m. Sunday.

This weekend marks FLC’s Athletic Hall of Fame and All-Century Team brunch at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18 in the Student Union Ballroom. Seven women’s soccer players, including current senior Hayley Hollenga, were named to the latter — a squad that includes 100 of the top players, coaches, and athletic administrators in FLC’s first 100 years as a state-supported academic institution. Other women’s soccer players who will be honored include Carisa Bradford (1995-99), Kate Kelly (1995-97, ’99), Nicole Kluk (2006-09), Jamie MacArthur (2006-09), Christine Schmelzle (2007-10), and Erika Shisler (2007-10).

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