Mavs prepare for big weekend in soccer
It’s a big weekend for several reasons for the Mesa State College women’s soccer team.
RMAC tournament and regional seeds are up for grabs on the final weekend of the regular season. In addition, the Mavericks are hosting ‘Pink on the Pitch’ on Friday night, and seniors Kylie Kegans, Deb (Benson) Vigil and Brenna Rice will be recognized Sunday.
“It doesn’t feel like the end,” Kegans said. “It won’t until next fall when it’s time for the season to start again.
The next couple of games are important. I’m excited we’ve made it this far.”
Although Mesa State (12-6-1, 7-4-0 RMAC) has already clinched a RMAC tournament berth, the Mavericks are looking for a higher seed and an opportunity to improve their regional ranking. Mesa State is eighth in the NCAA Division II Central Region rankings, but only six teams qualify for the NCAA tournament and two of them are the RMAC and Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference tournament champions.
Mesa plays Regis (12-5-0, 9-2-0 RMAC) at 3 p.m. Friday and Metro State (13-1-3, 9-0-2 RMAC) at 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
“A win is absolutely imperative to increasing our chances for regionals,” Mesa State coach Erin Sharpe said.
“We would like to play (Regis) again in the first round of the RMAC tournament, because if we can beat them twice it will increase our chances for a regional bid. We need Regis to lose to Fort Lewis on Sunday too.”
The Mavericks will raise money for Mesa State alumnus Kathy Howa’s Swing for Life on Friday as well with a silent auction, raffle prizes and Lance Armstrong Livestrong wrist bands. Mesa State will wear pink jerseys for
the ‘Pink on the Pitch’ night.
It’s a special night for the Mavericks. A teammate, Abby Jarvis, left school this year to be closer to her mother, who was stricken with breast cancer.
“We are all putting a dedication on our jerseys to someone special in our lives,” Vigil said. “Losing Abby was a big hit to the team. We all know Abby’s mom. She is close to a lot of people’s hearts.”
On Sunday, Mesa State plays Metro State for the first time this season, with the Roadrunners looking to win the RMAC regular season title.
“Metro and Mesa have a strong history and rivalry,” Sharpe said. “This is the time we want to play them and in a game that means so much.”
The Metro game will mean a lot to Kegans, Rice and Vigil, who could be playing their final game at Walker Field, unless the Mavs can move up in the RMAC standings enough to host an RMAC tournament first-round game.
“This year has been the best year,” Rice said. “We have a great group of girls. The team is so united.”
The junior from Mukileto, Wash., is planning on graduating in the spring and not returning for her fourth soccer season. She received a medical redshirt her first year.
“When I first came here, there were the top teams, middle teams and bottom teams,” Rice said. “As the years have gone on, the No. 1 team could lose to the last place team.”
It’s been a memorable ride for Vigil, who got married during her time at Mesa State.
“It’s been awesome,” Vigil said. “I came in not expecting anything at all (this season). It turned out to be a good team. A lot of girls stepped up in different positions. It’s been a great ride.”
Kegans played the last two years at Mesa State after transferring from Santa Rosa (Calif.) Junior College.
“I never heard of Mesa until one of the girls on my high school team came here,” Kegans said. “I decided to come out for a visit. As I flew over the mountains I knew this was the school I would go to.”