Loss drops Mavs in standings
Colorado School of Mines was behind the Colorado Mesa University women’s soccer team in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings, but not anymore.
The Orediggers upended Colorado Mesa, defeating the Mavericks 2-0 on Friday at Walker Field.
Mines (9-4, 6-3 RMAC) leapfrogged Mesa (8-2-3, 5-2-2 RMAC) into second place in the RMAC. The Mavericks dropped to a tie for fifth place with Fort Lewis (9-2-2, 5-2-2). The Skyhawks host Mesa on Sunday afternoon.
“This one definitely hurts,” CMU coach Erin Sharpe said. “Now, we have to win on Sunday. It’s a massive drop (in the standings) in one day. We’re disappointed because we know we can do better than what we put together today.”
Mines took control early, peppering the Mesa net with shots.
The Orediggers snuck one past Mesa goalkeeper Sarah Schnetzler in the 21st minute when Dani Hering headed a bouncing ball into the net. Mines’ Megan Woodworth centered the ball, and Kelsey Neal headed the ball enough to redirect it straight down. The ball bounced toward the net, and Hering somehow scored.
Two and a half minutes later, the Orediggers scored again. This time, they scored a more traditional goal on Anna Evans’ shot from outside the penalty box on the right side. It was assisted by Woodworth.
“I thought we played very, very well in the first half,” Mines coach Kevin Fickes said. “We connected well, and we moved the ball nicely. We scored our goals off that for the most part.”
Mines maintained control into the second half before Mesa finally pushed the ball past midfield more consistently. The Mavericks started putting shots on goal, but never put together a strong threat.
“We’re the only two teams in the entire conference that play five midfielders,” Sharpe said. “It causes a ton of congestion. We needed to find our forwards more. We finally started to find them in the last 23 minutes of the game. It took us that long.”
Colorado Mesa had hopes of making more history. Instead, the Mavericks fell behind almost immediately and never recovered.
The Colorado School of Mines defeated Mesa 1-0 for the 11th time in the 11th meeting.
“The first five minutes we weren’t thinking, we were overexcited and made a mistake,” CMU coach Josh Pittman said. “Guys didn’t show up to play today. We weren’t there. We didn’t have a good week of practice and we showed it on the field.”
Mines junior Tesho Akindele — the RMAC preseason player of the year — scored the game’s only goal, taking advantage of a Mesa turnover and scoring two minutes and 48 seconds into the match off the far post. It was his RMAC-leading 15th goal of the season.
“We had good pressure, forced a mistake and Tesho knows what to do when he gets in the (penalty) box,” Mines coach Frank Kohlenstein said. “He probably could’ve got in another.”
Akindele had a breakaway late in a downpour of rain, but slipped as Mesa’s Jeremy Gwerder regained possession.
Mines (8-3-2, 5-2-2 RMAC) had other scoring opportunities. The Orediggers took 11 shots, four on goal, but it was their defense that rose to the challenge.
Mesa (8-4-1, 6-3-0 RMAC) was limited to four shots and two on goal.
“Our whole team did a good job of defending,” Kohlenstein said. “(Mesa) is technically very good. Our focus was to make sure we were doing our job there.
“We know it’s very difficult for a team to shut us out. We knew if we could shut them out, we would have a chance. I’ll take this any day.”
Gwerder finally put Mesa’s first shot on goal in the 29th minute.
Early in the second half, midfielder Marco Escobar’s header was saved by Mines goalkeeper Manville Strand. Gwerder had another shot opportunity four minutes later, but shot wide left.
“They did a good job of shutting us down,” Pittman said. “We had opportunities to be dangerous, but we didn’t follow through with what we do. We shot ourselves in the foot.”
“I’d have to see the film again. It’s a 1-0 game. It comes down to one mistake and we made it. It’s frustrating.”