Fort Lewis dominates Millersville
Skyhawks outshoot Marauders 19-2, advance to championship
PENSACOLA, Fla. -- No. 3 Fort Lewis (23-1-0) dominated play from start to finish to beat No. 21 Millersville 3-0 on Thursday in the national semifinals.
Captain Fabian Kling, who was named a first team Daktronics All-American on Wednesday, went inside the left post on a penalty kick in the 39th minute to beat the Marauders goalkeeper Brad Benzing to provide the winning margin. The goal was Kling's seventh of the season.
“I'm just going into the box thinking I'm just going to hit it,” Kling said. “Either the keeper is going to guess right or he isn't and tonight he didn't.”
Kling's penalty was set up by midfielder Alberto Capdepon-Rodriguez, who was pulled down just inside the box on a scoring chance. The successful kick ended a frustrating drought that saw FLC narrowly miss several scoring chances.
“We played really well and possessed well tonight and that was the key to the game,” said Fort Lewis head coach Oige Kennedy, who is chasing his second national title in three seasons as the Skyhawk skipper. FLC previously won a national title in 2009 during Kennedy's first year as head coach.
“All the credit to our guys for creating chances,” Kennedy said. “I was really impressed with our work rate. One thing we always do well is out-pass teams and that was very important tonight.”
Fort Lewis outshot Millersville 19-2 overall, 12-1 in shots on goal. Skyhawk goalkeeper Ryan Wirth, who was named a second team Daktronics All-American on Wednesday, was forced to make just one routine stop late in the game in recording his 15th shutout of the season. The shots on goal could have had been an even wider margin had Fort Lewis not hit four posts in the game and sent a pair of other shots just inches wide of the far post.
Millersville head coach Steve Widdowson thought the Marauders came out a bit tentative, allowing Fort Lewis to control play.
“I think for the first 25-30 minutes we were a little too nervous and I think we kept in there," Widdowson said. "I think we did all we could do and the loss wasn't for a lack of trying, that's for sure.”
Fort Lewis' offense unleashed two more scores in the second stanza.
Kosta Kordistos buried his eighth goal of the season when he buried a cross from Joey Madigan in the 62nd minute on a rush set up by Thomas Hoang.
Derek Freeman netted his sixth marker of 2011 after Jordan Alexander slid a through ball that caught Benzing in no-man's land near the top of the six-yard line in the 89th minute.
“I'm just very excited to have a chance to be 90 minutes away from a national championship, especially during my senior year,” Kling said.