Fort Lewis tops Lions in second overtime

By Doug Fitzgerald published September 21, 2003

For a moment, everything but the ball was frozen in time as if all of Durango, Co., had been suspended when the game clock hit 57 seconds.

Fort Lewis freshman Ryan Parsonsâ€TM shot lacked any real authority, since the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs defense forced him to take it off balance and from a near-impossible angle. It bounced through a forest of legs, many of which were wearing the blue stockings of the Mountain Lions, close enough that a hard sneeze might have pushed it off target, but far enough away that no amount of effort would allow even a toe to touch it. Goalkeeper Matt Mitchell dived. The crowd held its collective breath.

The ball eluded Mitchell and nestled into the net to give Fort Lewis a 3-2 victory in double overtime Sunday. After 109 minutes of play, what threatened to be one of CU-Colorado Springsâ€TM proudest achievements became one of its most bitter disappointments.

“(The ball) had eyes,” said CU-Colorado Springs midfielder Martin Kristiseter.

Perhaps most disappointing is that the Mountain Lions did everything right. They scored first. They managed to fight back after falling behind. Time after time, they withstood the best swarming attacks that Fort Lewis could throw at them.

Both defenses were suffocating enough that only deft passing or great fortune allowed even the most cursory look at the goal.

The hustle of freshman Misha Thomas gave CU-Colorado Springs the lead. Fort Lewis passed the ball backward in its own zone, but Thomas pressured the pass, taking the Skyhawks by surprise. The defender slipped, giving Thomas a shot, which he blasted hard enough to penetrate goalkeeper Nick Clarkâ€TMs save attempt.

Fort Lewis scored the equalizer in the 59th minute when Ryan Kerr headed in a perfect crossing pass by his twin brother, Kevin.

The Skyhawks took the lead with less than 13 minutes remaining in regulation. Cole Sweetser beat his defender and sent a crossing pass that hit Sean Flanigan in stride. Mitchell was able to stop Flaniganâ€TMs blast, but could not keep the hard-struck ball from rebounding to John Cunliffe, who knocked it into the net.

“We thought (Mitchell) had it and it just popped out,” said Thomas. “(Fort Lewisâ€TM) guys were there and they put it home. They got the bounce on that one.”

Few teams that fall behind the Skyhawks are able to penetrate the packed-in defense they employ to hold a lead. In the 84th minute, the Mountain Lions did just that.

Kristiseter fired a corner kick that bent just inside the far post. Six-foot-3 defenseman Brian Best was there to head it in.

“Just like we practiced,” deadpanned Thomas.

The teams fought through the first overtime and, as the second overtime wore on, it became apparent that CU-Colorado Springs was just trying to hold on to earn the road tie.

“We didnâ€TMt come out hard enough,” said Kristiseter. “We were kind of satisfied with 2-2. I was, too.

“We had no buildup in the overtime,” added Thomas. “Every time we got it, we kicked it as hard as we could. They would build it up in their midfield.”

UCCS Players/Staff Featured

Brian BestBrian Best2DefenderFreshman
Brian BestBrian Best2DSo.
Brian BestBrian Best2DJr
Brian BestBrian Best2DSr.
Martin KristiseterMartin Kristiseter20MF/FJr.
Martin KristiseterMartin Kristiseter10MF/FSr.
Misha ThomasMisha Thomas9FFr.
Misha ThomasMisha Thomas9FSo
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