Mesa soccer, volleyball teams picked to make playoffs in the RMAC
All but one player returns for the Colorado Mesa University men’s soccer team, but the Mavericks aren’t expected to top the big four.
Mesa (8-7-4, 6-5-3 RMAC last season) is picked to finish fifth again in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference as voted by the coaches. The top six teams qualify for the RMAC tournament. The regular season champion hosts the semifinals and finals.
Colorado School of Mines is favored to top defending RMAC champion Regis for first place. The Orediggers received eight of the nine first-place votes. Regis received the other vote.
Fort Lewis and Metro State are picked to tie for third.
Mines senior forward Tesho Akindele, a three-time All-American, is the preseason player of the year. Metro State senior Andrew Mejia is the preseason defensive player of the year.
Colorado Mesa senior forward Marco Escobar and junior defender Phil Neuwirth made the preseason All-RMAC team.
The Mavericks host Real Colorado Development Academy in a scrimmage at 7 p.m. Saturday. Mesa’s first official match is Sept. 7 against California State-Stanislaus in Nampa, Idaho.
Colorado Mesa is expected to grab the last RMAC tournament spot again this season.
The Mavericks (9-7-3, 6-6-2 RMAC last season) placed sixth in the RMAC last year, but were eliminated in the first round of the tournament.
Five players graduated from that team, but coach Erin Sharpe has nine new players, including three college transfers on the squad this year. None of Mesa’s players were selected to the preseason All-RMAC team.
Regis is favored to defend its regular-season title. The Rangers (13-6-2, 10-2-2 RMAC) received four first-place votes.
Colorado Mines is picked second with three first-place votes, Fort Lewis is picked fourth and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs is fifth.
Fort Lewis junior forward Sam Weiss is the preseason player of the year. Regis senior Alison Cahill is the preseason defensive player of the year.
Mesa opens the season Sept. 6 against Midwestern State (Texas) University at 7 p.m. at Walker Field.
Colorado Mesa is expected to finish about where it did last year.
The Mavericks are picked to tie for seventh with the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in the RMAC this season.
Mesa (17-11, 11-8 RMAC last season) was third in the West Division last year and had the eighth best record in the RMAC last year. Three seniors graduated, but outside hitter Casey Ball returns from a torn knee ligament that ended her season the opening weekend of RMAC play last year. She led the Mavericks in kills at the time of the injury.
Regis (26-9, 16-3 RMAC) is the favorite to win the RMAC title with 10 first-place votes. Last year’s champion, Colorado School of Mines, received two first-place votes and is picked to finish second.
Metro State is picked third, Adams State fourth, Colorado Christian fifth and Western New Mexico sixth.
The Mavericks had no players on the preseason All-RMAC team.
Western New Mexico outside hitter Angelina Pulu is the preseason player of the year. Sage Martinson of Regis is the preseason defensive player of the year and Gabriella Rifilato is the preseason setter of the year for the second consecutive season.
The RMAC was previously divided into two divisions, but this year there is no divisions. Last year, the RMAC took the top eight teams regardless of division for the RMAC tournament.