PORTALES, N.M. – A pair of second-half goals proved to be the difference as Fort Lewis College women’s soccer ran away with a 2-0 win over Eastern New Mexico University to wrap up the non-conference schedule on Sunday. The Skyhawks improve to 2-2 on the year while pushing ENMU to 2-2 overall.
Fort Lewis dominated offensively, matching a season-high with 17 shots compared to seven for ENMU. The Skyhawks benefited from seven corner kick opportunities as well, holding the Greyhounds to just one for the match. Junior goalkeeper Katherine Dunbabin was poised in the net, going the distance with six saves for her first shutout of the season. Freshman Danielle Gonzales was the first to strike, netting her first career goal while junior Madyson Barela made it a two-goal game with her third goal of the year.
“Any time you have a freshman who can step up and score points for the team, you will be in a pretty good position to win games. Gonzales has done a lot of things right so far this season, and it was good to see her get rewarded,” commented women’s soccer head coach Damian Clarke. “As for Barela, the kid works so hard to be at her best. She does all the little things right in training so it’s no surprise to see it paying off for her this season.”
Fort Lewis set the tone early with three shots coming in quick succession in the sixth minute, including one on target by senior Avery Lewis. ENMU settled, keeping the Skyhawks quiet in the following 15 minutes before Barela notched her second shot of the half in the 21st minute. The attempt tested the opposing keeper, but a save in the bottom right quadrant preserved the scoreless contest. The Skyhawks continued to hold an offensive advantage throughout the half, outshooting ENMU 9-2, but the score held at 0-0 heading into halftime.
The Greyhounds tested Dunbanin early in the second half, chipping a shot toward the goal, but the junior made her second save of the day to keep the tie going. Freshman Danielle Gonzales had something to say about the scoreless affair, earning the first goal of her FLC career in the 57th minute for a 1-0 lead. ENMU booted two more shots toward Dunbabin, trying mightily to pull even, but the efforts went unrewarded with another pair of saves adding to the stat line.
The Skyhawks doubled up the lead in the 75th minute when Barela scored her third goal of the season to tie for a team lead. Much like the response following the first goal, the Greyhounds tested Dunbabin for the sixth time in the match. The goalkeeper remained stout between the pipes, collecting her sixth save of the match to mark a season-high. The 2-0 advantage proved to be too much to overcome as the Skyhawks ran out the clock on a road victory to wrap up the non-conference portion of their schedule.
“I’m happy with the way we came out and competed today, and this type of competition puts us in a good place heading into conference play. We will be looking to take advantage of our time to train and break down some of the things us coaches have seen so far, and we will be focused when it comes time to face Pueblo,” Clarke said.
Fort Lewis (2-2) will take advantage of time off to rest and recharge before heading into Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) play on Friday, September 24. The Skyhawks welcome Colorado State University-Pueblo to Dirks Field for a 3:00 p.m. start in the conference opener. FLC topped Pueblo in a 1-0 blank when the teams met most recently on April 3.