Mesa State women’s soccer team optimistic despite loss

Metro’s Courtney Ryan, right,  and Kelly Husky of Mesa head a ball at Walker field

A near upset of the No. 12 team in the country slipped away, but the Mesa State College women’s soccer team still came away optimistic heading into the RMAC tournament.

Mesa State sophomore Dany Ramirez scored an early goal that held up until 11:25 left in the game before Metro State forced overtime. The Roadrunners scored six minutes into overtime to defeat the Mavericks 2-1 in each team’s RMAC regular season finale on Sunday at Walker Field.

“Beating the No. 12 team in the country would’ve do wonders for our regional ranking,” Mesa State coach Erin Sharpe said. “We not only played with them, but for a lot of the game dominated and had tons of chances to beat the No. 12 team in the country. We’ve talked about how our long term goal is to win a national championship and I think now they see that is absolutely a reality.”

Mesa State (12-8-1, 7-6-0 RMAC) drops to sixth in the RMAC standings and plays No. 3 seed Colorado School of Mines (11-4-3, 9-2-2 RMAC) in the first round of the RMAC tournament on Wednesday.

“The last couple of years the fourth and fifth seeded teams have won the RMAC tournament,” Sharpe said. “Any one of the six teams can win the tournament and get a regional bid.

“I think we match up well (with Mines). We had a lot of chances against them (in the Orediggers’ 2-1 victory this season), but we’ve got to be very careful because of what Kayla Mitchell can do.”

No. 12 Metro State (15-1-3, 11-0-2 RMAC) clinched its seventh consecutive RMAC regular season title with the victory and will await the winner of Fort Lewis and CSU-Pueblo in the RMAC semifinals on Friday. Regis (14-5-0, 11-2-0 RMAC) is the No. 2 seed and plays the winner of Mesa and Mines in Friday’s other semifinal.

Sunday’s game was just the test the Roadrunners needed, Metro State coach Adrianne Almaraz said.

“When they scored, it put us on our heels,” she said. “Mesa came out great. We were definitely tested. I told the girls at halftime we’re going to be in this situation again and it’s how you respond to it. In games likes this you have to play with heart and we definitely did because we knew what was on the line.”

Mesa gave Metro State a quick wakeup call when Ramirez launched a shot from the top left corner of the penalty box into the right corner of the goal in the sixth minute.

“Every day at practice my coach gets on me about far post, far post, far post,” she said. “I actually took a second, looked up and realized the keeper was cheating a little farther to the inside. I placed it right of the (right) bar and I was just like, ‘Really? Did that go in.”

Mesa State goalkeeper Julie Rasmussen made the goal stand until the 78th minute when the Roadrunners’ Becca Mays notched her 14th goal of the season off a Mesa turnover.

“When you got a lead, it’s OK to drop more numbers behind the ball and make sure you’re more organized,” Sharpe said. “Not too many shots they took were very dangerous. They were taking it from their back line.”

Metro teammate Madison McQuilliams snuck a shot past Rasmussen in overtime for the game winner.

“We had one unfortunate defensive breakdown that allowed the goal to tie,” Sharpe said. “The goal to win was a bit unlucky. We’ll fix that breakdown and not have it again.”

Rasmussen made six saves of nine shots on goal. Metro goalkeeper Becca Maloney saved one of two shots on goal by Mesa.


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