Going long: Parkhurst’s far out goals lift Mavericks past Metro

Colorado Mesa’s Kelly Parkhurst, 17, is congratulated by her teammates Wednesday after scoring one of her two goals in the Mavs’ 2-1 victory over Metro State in the RMAC quarterfinals at Walker Field.

For as long as Kelly Parkhurst can remember, she’s been pretty good at hitting the long shot.

Recently, it’s a skill that’s come in handy for the forward on the Colorado Mesa University women’s soccer team.

Parkhurst scored both of the Mavericks’ goals in Wednesday’s 2-1 RMAC tournament quarterfinal victory over Metro State College.

The shortest goal she hit in front of 649 fans at Walker Field was from 25 yards out.

“The long shots have always been my thing,” Parkhurst said. “Today they just sank.”

The win was Colorado Mesa’s first in the RMAC tournament since 2006, when then-Mesa State College beat Adams State 4-0 in the quarterfinals.

Although the Mavericks had trouble possessing the ball against Metro, especially when making a run at the net, Parkhurst’s goals were all they needed.

Her first goal, in the 26th minute, was from the center of the field 30 yards out. The low rainbow shot headed toward the top left corner and gave the Mavericks a 1-0 lead.

In the 75th minute with the score tied 1-1, she did it again, hitting another rainbow from 25 yards out that landed in the upper half of the net.

“The range I shot both shots at, that’s my range,” Parkhurst said. “I’m better at the long shots. I knew the first one went over, so I knew I was going to keep taking those shots over (Metro keeper Danielle Quigley).”

The game winner was her third goal in two games and fourth of the season. Parkhurst scored the first goal in Sunday’s 3-2 overtime win against CU-Colorado Springs.

CMU coach Erin Sharpe credited the streak to a recent emphasis on technique.

“Her focus the last two weeks, what we’ve been working on, is that mentality of getting over the ball every single time and she did it,” Sharpe said.

The Mavericks also got a boost from their aggressive defense. Metro controlled the ball well enough that CMU’s defenders were constantly on their heels.

The Mavericks played patiently and had numerous steals and well-timed tackles.

Defender Sam Burneo even recorded a save for the Mavs when she headed away a shot by Metro’s Hayley Marsh in the 10th minute.

Burneo left the game in the 30th minute with a groin injury and didn’t return. Sharpe was unsure of her status for Friday’s semifinal game against Regis.

The one goal allowed came in the 37th minute when Metro’s Nicole Pollack headed in a ball from Marsh, who passed it from near midfield.

“Our defense, even without Sam Burneo, an all-conference player who had to come out at the end of the first half, were so paced and so smart and were organized,” Sharpe said. “We let down a little bit on that set piece, but in the flow of play, our defense is just phenomenal.”

CMU was outshot 17-11, including 12-5 in the first half.

In the second half, the Mavericks’ defense allowed only five shots.

CMU plays top-seeded Regis at 1 p.m. Friday on the Rangers’ home pitch in Denver.

The teams split their regular-season meetings, with CMU winning 3-1 at Walker Field and Regis winning 4-0 in Denver.

“That’s our worst loss on the year and one of our most successful wins on the year as well,” Sharpe said. “What we have to sort of dig down and discover is what is the difference in terms of how we played with the win versus the loss.”

But, she said, the Mavericks enter the game with confidence.

“To have the celebrations we’ve had in front of our home crowd,” she said, “that in itself gives you quite a bit of momentum moving forward.”


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