Fatigue catches up with Mavericks in loss

Two weeks on the road finally caught up with the Mesa State College women’s soccer team.

The Mavericks, who played their first home game in 17 days, fell flat Wednesday, losing to Dixie State (Utah) College 5-1 in a nonconference game at Walker Field.

“We looked incredibly flat,” Mesa State coach Erin Sharpe said. “I’m not blaming it all on the travel. We
need to be mentally tough.

“We had a set of objectives we needed to achieve and we did not do that. We were not focused enough.

The first three goals took the air out of us.”

Mesa State (8-5-0) has spent a majority of the past two weeks on the road, first in Hawaii, then last weekend in Las Vegas, N.M. and Denver. The Mavericks won three of the five games on the trip.
Wednesday was the Mavericks’ sixth game in 13 days.

“It was a rough couple weeks,” Mesa junior midfielder Kira Brannan said. “We traveled a lot. We’re fatigued now, but we’ll find our legs.”

The Rebels (6-4-1) took advantage of Mesa State early, scoring a goal in the 12th minute and three more in a five-minute stretch before halftime for a 4-0 lead. The last three goals were scored by sophomore forward Wendy Stratford.

The goals were scored against Kaitlin Bennett, who was replaced in the second half by Brannan. Mesa’s other goalkeeper, Julia Rasmussen, injured her left knee last weekend.

“I was prepared for it,” Brannan said. “I’ll do whatever the team needs. I’m physical and talk a lot. I think I read the game well.”

Brannan, who hasn’t played goalkeeper since middle school, responded with five saves on 10 shots.

Brannan said playing goalkeeper is similar to her normal center-midfielder position except she’s directing the defense instead of the directing the offense.

“Kira was outstanding,” Sharpe said. “I know she played goalkeeper in her youth. She has great awareness and is a great athlete.

“I told her before the game if Kaitlin (Bennett) gets injured you might go in there. The one goal scored against her was a decent goal.”

Mesa State freshman Alyssa Michel scored the Mavericks’ goal 59 seconds into the second half off a rebounded shot, but any hopes Mesa had of rallying died when Dixie’s Jordyn Hutchinson scored in the 68th minute.


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