GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — No. 6 Fort Lewis (3-0-0) rallied for a pair of second half goals to defeat Dixie State (Utah) (1-2-0) 3-1 today at Walker Field.
“We got destroyed in the first half today,” said fifth-year FLC head coach Damian Clarke. “They kept the ball away from us. We struggled to get into the game and find any rhythm at all.”
The Red Storm’s Mindi Beckham did something that no opponent has done yet in 2011: put her team ahead of the Skyhawks. Beckham converted a corner kick that was launched into the box by Camille Jensen and headed initially by Lauren Minnick at 8:16.
The Skyhawks at least leveled the score before halftime when junior midfielder Elena Benevides connected on a corner kick taken by Sara Egbom and served toward the right side by Paige Martinez at 41:20.
The second stanza told a different story.
“Once we worked it out, we did much better,” said Clarke.
Sophomore forward Emma Cannis and freshman midfielder Sam Weiss took turns setting each other up in the second half. Cannis notched the eventual game-winner when she kicked in Weiss’ pass from the right side at 65:56. She later freed Weiss with a through ball that the freshman punched through from the left side at 73:19.
The performance of the dynamic duo was particularly important given the absence of All-America striker Hayley Hollenga, who rested due to a hip flexor.
Cannis saw her first significant playing time of the season after missing most of last weekend’s games with an eye ailment.
The early-season injuries have forced Clarke to use a different lineup in each of his team’s first three games.
“We’re still an unfinished product,” he said.
Fort Lewis outshot Dixie State 13-7, but shots on target were level at six apiece.
Amanda Raso made five saves to improve to 3-0-0 for the Skyhawks. Dixie State netminder April Beck stopped two of the four shots on goal she faced before being lifted for Abby Johnson in the 70th minute. Johnson allowed one goal and made on save for the Red Storm.
Fort Lewis concludes its nonconference schedule at 2 p.m. Monday at Walker Field when it faces Grand Canyon (Ariz.) (0-2-0 prior to its matchup with Mesa State tonight).