But a 66th minute goal proved to be the difference as the No. 1-ranked Skyhawks escaped with a 1-0 victory, handing the Lancers their first loss of the 2012 campaign.
"The reality is there's a reason why they've been the best team in the country and are the defending champs," said CBU Head Coach Ryan Jorden. "They taught us a pretty powerful lesson about how to play for a complete 90 minutes and how you play good, attractive football at a high tempo."
Indeed the Lancers started sluggishly. Fort Lewis out-shot the Lancers 6-3 in the first 45 minutes and had a great chance in the seventh minute, but Joey Pacheco saved a point-blank rifle from 20 yards out. In the 21st minute, Alex Anderson hit a screamer that grazed off the crossbar. Then minutes later, he slid just past the left post.
After the first 45 minutes, though, the Lancers made adjustments and generated opportunities right out of the gate. The Lancers had three dangerous chances in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but couldn't convert on any of them. Anderson had a point-blank rip from the right side in the 56th minute, but Ryan Schaul made a fairly routine save.
The Lancer defense did a decent job keeping the Skyhawks away from any danger until the final half hour. That's when in the 66th minute, Fort Lewis finally hit pay dirt.
Yannis Becker back-heeled a ball to Casey Dean on the right side and Dean ripped a shot that Pacheco initially stuffed, but the rebound fell right to Becker, who put away what might be his easiest goal all year.
The Lancers had chances to equalize, but couldn't find the back of the net.
The Skyhawks out-shot the Lancers 11-8. Both teams got off five shots apiece in the second half.
"Their commitment to work as a team was tremendous and hopefully we'll learn the lessons that can be gained from the experience we were just put through," said Jorden.