A turnaround season has Fort Lewis College Men’s Soccer Team positioned for a run in the NCAA Tournament. You’re watching the, “Local News Network,” brought to you by Serious Texas Bar-B-Q and The Payroll Department, I’m Connor Shreve. The Skyhawks Men’s Soccer Team, earned a nearly unprecedented five Postseason Awards from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, in capturing its first Regular Season RMAC Title since 2011. Topping the pile was freshman, Anton Hjalmarsson, who earned both the Conference Freshman of the Year Award and Player of the Year. Well, the double award is a rarity. Hjalmarsson admits he had his eye on the selection announcement.
I didn’t really expect the Player of the Year, but I was kind of expecting the Freshman of the Year, after looking at the stats. But yeah, of course, very happy.
The native of Sweden had a breakout freshman year for the Skyhawks piling up offensive stats. But arguably, his biggest impact came in the clutch, tallying game-winning goals in three contests, including the Regular Season Title Game. He’s enjoying his first year in the States.
Just the facilities and all the people around the program and the teammates. I feel like I’m living as a professional soccer player, kind of like the childhood dream, so. I’m liking it really good.
Turning the Skyhawks around after last year’s four win season earned Coach Dave Oberholtzer, Conference Coach of the Year Honors. Something he credits to players like Hjalmarsson.
One, I think we worked really hard in our recruiting over the past 12 months, and have been able to bring in a lot of really good players to help us straight away, such as this guy right here, along with a handful of others, that have made a huge impact straight away. But again, I think just from a character standpoint, they’re all really good guys. They get along really well. There’s a really strong team chemistry there, that plays a significant role.
Oberholtzer wasn’t shy in looking outside US borders to build his team with players from places like France, Mexico, Sweden, and England, gracing the FLC Roster, something he says has made for a fun season.
I think it’s really unique, you know, people from all different cultures and, you know, foreign and domestic. So I think it’s really enjoyable to watch the different cultures and personalities come together, and they learn about each other, and at the end of the day, they still are able to find commonalities and really enjoy each other’s company.
Hjalmarsson agrees saying, “It’s a perfect chemistry made up of players who get along as well off the pitch as on it.” That’s made for a cohesive unit that rolled its way to an eight seed in the NCAA Tournament, a starting place, Oberholtzer and his staff, hope can position the Skyhawks for a deep run.
Right now, we’re just playing one game at a time. I think, again, going back to the turnaround from last year to this year, I think we’re just really humbled and excited to be in the position that we’re at.
Round One pits Fort Lewis against familiar conference foe, UCCS, after splitting the Season Series against the Mountain Lions, one game a piece. A win would earn the Skyhawks a game against the region’s number one seed, Midwestern State, who’s yet to take a loss this season. You can check out the bracket on the NCAA website and follow the action live at goskyhawks.com. Learn more about this and other stories at durangolocal.news. Thank you for watching this edition of the, “Local News Network.” I’m Connor Shreve.