Mavs believe they can win RMAC women’s soccer title

JULIE RASMUSSEN AND THE MESA STATE defense will have their hands full trying to stop Kayla Mitchell and Colorado Mines today in the first round of the RMAC tournament in Golden.



The Mesa State College women’s soccer team believes it; now the team has to prove it.

The Mavericks (12-8-1), who were 11½ minutes away from defeating RMAC regular season champion Metro State on Sunday, enter the RMAC tournament today believing they can upset three teams, win the tournament title and qualify for the NCAA Division II playoffs. The quest starts at 2 p.m. today against Colorado School of Mines (11-4-3) in Golden.

“We believe not only our long-term goal to be a national contender is realistic, but Sunday’s game made us believe we have a chance to go far this year as well,” Mesa State coach Erin Sharpe said. “Beating someone in the top three (in the regional rankings) will score us big points. That being said, a lot could happen this weekend.”

Mesa State was ranked eighth in last week’s regional rankings, with the latest rankings due out today, and can assure themselves an NCAA tournament berth by winning the RMAC tournament. To do that, the
Mavs will have to defeat Mines today and win two more games.

The past two years, the No. 4 seed Fort Lewis, did that.

First, the Mavericks will need to find a way to contain one of the top goal scorers in the country today.

Colorado Mines junior forward Kayla Mitchell is sixth in the nation in goals per game (1.16). She has scored multiple goals in six games this season and has six game-winning goals.

“She is tremendously fast, composed and technical,” Sharpe said. “We knew that going into the game against them this season and she still capitalized. Now, we know a little more how to contain her.”

The Orediggers are averaging 2.33 goals per game and Mesa is allowing 1.31.

The Mavericks will also need to find a way to score against Mines, which has shut out its opponent nine times this season and are allowing less than one goal a game (0.79). Mesa is averaging 1.38 goals a game.

“They pack it in well,” Sharpe said. “They make it difficult to get behind their defense.

“The biggest thing is we need to be more prepared for their counter-attack. We need to find a way to get behind their defense.”

Mesa State center midfielder Kira Brannan, who missed the last four games with a knee strain, is expected to play today.

If the Mavs defeats the Orediggers, they will face Regis (14-5-0) in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. on Friday in Denver.

The Rangers have won eight consecutive games and have outscored their opponents 32-5 in that span.


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