Mavs finally get hot
Early goals keep Mesa in playoff hunt
It was cold Friday night, but the Mesa State women’s soccer team’s attack was red hot.
The Mavericks scored two goals in the first three minutes en route to a 3-0 RMAC victory over CSU-Pueblo on a bitterly cold senior night at Walker Field. The temperature was 37 degrees at game time, according to the National Weather Service.
“To come out and put two goals away in the first three minutes is incredibly encouraging, especially since we’ve been struggling to find the back of the net,” Mesa State coach Erin Sharpe said.
“We certainly set the tempo of this game. The seniors not only want to go out on top senior night, but they want to go out on top for the season as well. The girls knew tonight had to be a victory to put us on pace for what we want to do long-term.”
Mesa State (10-9-0, 7-8-0 RMAC) needs only to tie Regis (12-3-3, 9-2-3 RMAC) in its regular season finale at 1 p.m. on Sunday in Denver or for Colorado Christian (8-7-3, 5-7-2 RMAC) or the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (7-8-1, 6-8-1 RMAC) to lose or tie one of its remaining games to clinch an RMAC tournament berth.
The top six teams qualify for the RMAC tournament, which begins Wednesday.
The Mavericks head into their final regular-season game with the attack clicking.
Mesa State took 19 shots, 14 on goal.
CSU-Pueblo (5-12-2, 4-10-1 RMAC) had 10 shots, six on goal. Mesa goalkeeper Kaitlin Bennett, one of five seniors on the team, made four saves.
Mesa junior Dany Ramirez was involved in all three goals.
She scored the first goal on a header off a corner kick from Kelci Crispe at 1:36.
“It was a great ball by Kelci,” Ramirez said. “Kelci and Brittany (Cito) are the two players we look at to dump the ball in the box (off a corner kick). I think Kira (Brannan) could’ve had that, but she let me have it. My positioning on it was pretty good.”
Ramirez returned the favor, assisting Crispe’s goal at 2:52.
“I can always count on Kelci running down the line,” Ramirez said. “She’s a player that wants to score. We all know she can score from that range. Either we’ll get a cross off it or she’ll take a good shot.”
Crispe, though, injured her left ankle in the 12th minute and had to be carried off the field. Sharpe said she likely tore a ligament and is probably won’t play the rest of the season.
The Mavericks clung to the 2-0 lead in the cold until the 7th minute of the second half when Ramirez scored on an assist from Jami Simpson.
“In my mind, I was thinking one-touch shot, hit it,” Ramirez said. “The girl thought I was going to hit it, so I waited and saw a slot open and I just smashed it in.”
CSU-Pueblo scored in the 74th minute and held on to defeat Mesa State 1-0 at the Rawlings Complex in Pueblo.
Dylan Cook scored his fourth goal of the season for the ThunderWolves (8-10-0, 4-9-0 RMAC), who took 14 shots.
Mesa junior midfielder Ryan McClanahan received a red card in the 82nd minute, forcing the Mavericks to play short-handed for the last eight minutes of the game.
Mesa State (2-14-2, 2-10-1 RMAC) was limited to three shots, two on goal.