Fort Lewis 3, Franklin Pierce 1Dec. 4, 2005

WICHITA FALLS, Texas -- The Fort Lewis College men's soccer team won the 2005 NCAA men's soccer Division II national championship Sunday afternoon after defeating Franklin-Pierce (Rindge, N.H.), 3-1. The national title is the first ever for Fort Lewis College. The win also caps off the Skyhawks undefeated season at 22-0-1.

Junior Ben Gantenbein (Golden) registered the game-winning goal from John Cunliffe's (Edgworth, England) assist at 81:21. Cunliffe attempted a shot on goal and Gantenbein was in place to scoop up the reflection from goalkeerper's James Thorpe save. Junior Cliff Wilmes (Morrison) put the Skyhawks on the scoreboard first when he found the back of the net at 26:45. Kieran Hall (Blackburn, England) registered the assist when he headed the ball to Wilmes who then headed it into the goal for a 1-0 lead. The Ravens tied the game two minutes into the second half when Christopher Joyce kicked a left-footed free kick from 20 yards out into the top shelf of the goal. Senior Cole Sweetser (North Richland Hills, Texas) added an insurance goal on an empty net with three ticks left in regulation from Cunliffe's assist.

Franklin-Pierce, who played with one man short in the last eight minutes, ends their season at 14-6-4. The Skyhawks out shot the Ravens 13-11 (9-2 shots on goal).

The game marks the last contest for seven Skyhawk seniors: defender Adam Beach (Durango), goalkeeper Nick Clark (Durango), defender Bryan Eisenbraun (Lakewood), forward Kyle Fredrick (Durango), defender Sean Flanagan (Franktown), forward Ryan Parsons (Golden), and forward Cole Sweetser.

Cunliffe, Eisenbraun, Wilmes and Sweetser were named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team. Cunliffe was voted the Most Outstanding Offensive Player and Eisenbraun was voted the Most Outstanding Defensive Player.



-- Courtesy Fort Lewis