Consistent Mavericks crack rankings
The Colorado Mesa University women’s soccer team is doing something it didn’t last year.
As a result, the Mavericks are off to their best start in coach Erin Sharpe’s five years, and they’ve caught the attention of coaches across the country.
Colorado Mesa (6-0-2, 3-0-1 RMAC) cracked the National Soccer Coaches Association of America top 25 poll this week at No. 13. This is the third time Mesa received a national ranking under Sharpe and the highest it’s been ranked.
The Mavericks are one of two teams without a loss in the South Central Region. Mesa is ranked second in the NSCAA South Central Region poll behind St. Edward’s (Texas) University (7-0-0), which is third in the nation.
The reason for the successful start: playing more consistent.
“The thing we’ve historically struggled with is playing well against nonranked teams,” Sharpe said. “Last year, for example, we had fantastic results against ranked teams. Against nonranked teams, we didn’t necessarily get the results we should. We had an issue showing up consistently for every single game. So far this year, there’s been some wins that weren’t pretty, but nevertheless we’re finding ways of getting wins. That’s what I’m particularly pleased with.”
The Mavericks still have a lot in front of them before they can start thinking about the postseason again. Mesa qualified for the NCAA tournament last year for the first time in 11 years.
“We’ve also got to recognize we have some really strong opponents we haven’t seen yet,” Sharpe said. “I think the respect we’re getting to be nationally ranked is important, but at the same time, we have a lot of season left and some very dangerous teams to play.”
Mesa has five of its next six matches on the road beginning with Colorado Christian (2-6, 0-4 RMAC) at 1 p.m. Friday in Lakewood. The Mavericks play Regis (5-2-1, 3-0-1 RMAC) at 1 p.m. Sunday in Denver. The Rangers eliminated Mesa in the NCAA tournament last year.
“By no means whatsoever is this an automatic win. We’ve got a target on our back,” Sharpe said of Colorado Christian. “When you’re the team expected to win, it’s often times more difficult because of the added motivation. We’ve got to maintain that level of consistency.
“Regis is dangerous. They are very physical and aggressive. Our defense has to be sharp.”