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Kings rally in 2nd half, beat Ft. Collins 8-7

 It took a spirited second half effort from the Sea Kings to overcome a 6-3 halftime deficit and upend visiting Fort Collins Unified (CO) 8-7. The win, improves CDM's record to 5-0 on the season.

The game was a tale of two halves. In the first, CDM seemed tentative and sluggish. In the second, the Kings were relentless. They were far more aggressive on ground balls, defense, riding and at the offensive end. At the second half close of business, CDM had held the visiting Vipers to just one goal, while adding five to the good side of the scoreboard.

"This was a good test for us," said CDM head coach G.W. Mix. "We are a very young team and it was good to see the kids find a way to fight through some adversity against a good team and come out on top."

CDM opened the scoring mid-way through the first period when Jack Ortlieb (Sr/Attack) found Casey Mix (Sr/Attack) for the game's first tally. Ortlieb participated in the next two Sea King goals scoring with :54 remaining in the first period and assisting on Sherwin Gersten's (So/Midfield) goal at 7:25 of the second stanza.

Aside from Gersten's lone goal, the second quarter belonged to the Vipers. Fort Collins outscored CDM 3-1 and took a 6-3 lead into the lockerroom. 

Max Kline (So/Midfield) began the Kings' second half offensive, scoring on an extra-man goal early in the third period on a feed from Casy Mix (Sr/Attack). A minute later, Fort Collins answered with an unassisted goal from standout attackman Alex Stewart to increase the Viper's lead to 7-4.

After that, it was all Sea Kings. Ortlieb followed three minutes later (7:45) with his second goal of the game, a right handed rip off of a dodge from behind, to bring CDM within two. Senior midfielder Brett Nelson got the hosts one step closer with an unassisted goal of his own at the 4:35 mark. Completing the comeback, Ortlieb tied the game on a feed from Todd Kitzens (Sr/Attack) with just 18 seconds remaining in the third.

Midway through the fourth quarter (7:09), on a dodge off the edge, Casey Mix found Todd Kitzens on the backside for the game winner.

In the second half, sophomore goalie Hoyt Crance caught fire and turned back all but one of Fort Collins' second half shots. He finished the day with 11 saves, including a one on one save late in the game to ensure a Kings' victory.

Fort Collins was visiting Orange County on its spring break. They played Newport Harbor on Monday afternoon, defeating the Sailors 12-8. On Wednesday evening, they lost the final game of their west coast tour to Huntington Beach 12-10.

"What a great group of kids," Mix commented. "They were well-mannered, well-coached and played their asses off. They are a team comprised of kids from four different high schools in their school district. It was remarkbale to see how hard they played for each other. That type of culture is not easy to create under those circumstances. Those kids and coaches do a great job."

Up next for the Sea Kings in a match-up with yet another Top 5 team in Orange County when they play San Clemente (currently ranked #3) on Saturday at CDM at 2:00 PM. The JV will play immediately after the conclusion of the varsity game.