Colorado Mesa women top UCCS; men fall short of RMAC tourney
Late in Sunday’s 3-2 double overtime win against the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Colorado Mesa University defender Jessica Kent had a simple offensive strategy.
“I was just thinking anytime the ball is in the middle, someone should just put it on goal,” she said.
With 1:48 left in the second overtime Kent practiced what she preached.
Playing in the middle of the box, she was able to get to a shot deflected by UCCS goalie Jessica Taylor and put it in to end the game.
The win clinched the No. 4 seed in the RMAC women’s soccer championship tournament, which starts at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Walker Field against Metro State College.
But jubilation of victory was merely the finish on a game filled with ups and downs.
CMU (8-6-4, 7-3-4 RMAC) played a nearly flawless game for the first 70 minutes, controlling the ball to take a 2-0 lead by halftime.
The Mavericks got their first goal in the 13th minute when Kelly Parkhurst hit a shot from 25 yards out.
In the 27th minute, Sara Islas scored on a rebound when goalie Jessica Taylor couldn’t hold on to a shot by Daniela Salinas.
But in a six-minute span between the 70th and 76th minutes, the defense had several lapses.
In the 70th minute, UCCS (8-9-1, 4-9-1 RMAC) scored on a ball by Hanna Rather that had been deflected by goalie Sarah Schnetzler.
Six minutes later, Agnes Arnadottir tied it with a free kick from 20 yards out. On the kick, Meghan Royer ran across as a decoy and Arnadottir struck it low to the right side of the net.
“I told the girls I just had my hair done a few days ago and I’m going to have to go have it done again because I got a few more grays hairs on that one,” CMU coach Erin Sharpe said.
Arnadottir was given a red card after trying to kick Islas with 3:35 left in the first overtime, forcing UCCS to play short a player the rest of the game.
With a win Sunday against No. 22 Regis, the CMU men’s soccer team (5-12-1, 5-9-0 RMAC) would have moved on to the RMAC tournament.
But truthfully, the players and coaches of the team had other things on their minds after a 1-0 season-ending loss to the Rangers (13-3-1, 10-3-1 RMAC) at Walker Field.
After the game, the team was more concerned over the status of defender Jeremy Gwerder, who was taken by ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital after a head-to-head collision in the first half.
The collision happened with 9:56 left in the half when Gwerder jockeyed with Regis defender Jordan Spring for a header near midfield. As the two jumped for the ball, their heads collided, knocking Gwerder unconscious.
When Gwerder came down, he went into the fetal position and started shaking momentarily.
“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with on a soccer field in my life,” CMU coach Josh Pittman said. “As a coach you see one of your players in that position and you feel helpless. You just realize how insignificant a soccer game is and how important a life is.”
Pittman was unsure of Gwerder’s status immediately after the game.
“We are keeping track of him and our throughts and prayers are with him,” Pittman said.
Spring, who got a large cut in the collision, also went to St. Mary’s but left the stadium on his own power.
“I think everyone on the team was saying that they’ve never seen anything like that and never been more scared,” CMU goalie Micah Conrads said.
It was the second head injury that removed a CMU defender from the game.
In the 19th minute, defender Stan Schrock had to be helped off the field due to what Pittman assumed was a concussion.
“It’s hard stuff to come back from, but we did for a long time,” said goalie Micah Conrads. “We kept fighting, kept trying and just had one unfortunate event.”
The unfortunate event came in the 85th minute when Kyle Carlisle headed a free kick inside the box from Stephen Reed over Conrads’ head.
Conrads finished the game with 10 saves.
CMU had seven shots, only two on goal.
In the 81st minute, CMU had a chance to take the lead when Tim Hofer was knocked over in the box by a defender.
On the ensuing penalty kick, Stevie Palma shot it high over the right corner of the net.
Had CMU won it would have finished a point ahead of Colorado State University-Pueblo in the RMAC standings to get the sixth and final spot in the RMAC tournament.