Ramirez heads game winner for Mavericks
Dany Ramirez was beginning to wonder what it would take to score again.
Apparently, it takes throwing your body toward the ball.
The Mesa State College junior forward lunged for the ball kicked by Kira Brannan and headed it past New Mexico Highlands’ goalkeeper Friday night to give the Mavericks a 1-0 RMAC women’s soccer victory at Walker Field.
“I’ve got to sacrifice my body like Coach Andy (Varns) says,” Ramirez said. “I need some major ice now.”
Ramirez broke the scoreless game in the 71st minute when Brannan put the ball on goal in the right corner. Ramirez left her feet, striking the ball with her head to score past Lauren White.
“My job is to knock it back toward the goal, but from my angle, I don’t know if it was going to go in, so I’m glad Dany was there,” Brannan said. “That’s why we’re supposed to fly to the goal. Dany did a good job of doing that.”
It was Ramirez’s first goal in eight games after she scored one goal in each of the first two games.
“Finally Dany’s got that monkey off her back,” Mesa State coach Erin Sharpe said. “It was important for her confidence and it was a great serve in by Kira.”
Ramirez’s header was one of 16 shots and six on goal by the Mavericks (7-4-0, 4-3-0 RMAC), who wore pink jerseys and raised $1,905 on auction items for Kathy Howa’s Swing for Life Foundation.
“We dominated the game relative to possession,” Sharpe said. “We played quickly so we set the tempo of the game. We finally put a goal away, but we still need more from our forwards. I said last week there is an element of unluck with us hitting the post several times, but we still need our forwards to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Highlands (2-9-0, 2-4-0 RMAC) nearly tied the game in the last two minutes when Mesa goalkeeper Alicia Kahler was out of position for Mari Jorstad’s shot. Mesa defender Kelly Husky was there, though, to prevent the goal and kick the ball away.
“Kelly did phenomenal,” Brannan said. “That’s what we do. Our goalie steps out and we crash the goal. That’s what we practice every day.”
Kahler saved three of Highlands six shots (four on goal).
Evans Afriyie was cleared to play Friday morning for Mesa State.
Later that night, the freshman from Denver scored a game-winning goal to lift the Mavericks to a 2-1 victory over the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs in double overtime at Walker Field.
“This feels good,” Afriyie said. “This boosts our confidence.”
Afriyie sustained a concussion last weekend in the Mavericks’ loss at Regis.
With the game tied 1-1 in the 102nd minute, Marco Angelo fed the ball through the defense to Afriyie, who kicked the ball past Mountain Lions goalkeeper Adam Liszewski for the winner.
“It was all Marco,” Afriyie said. “He’s a great player, the things he sees. Hopefully we can get a winning streak going.”
Mesa State (2-7-1, 2-3-0 RMAC) snapped a two-match losing streak. The Mavericks scored two goals on only five shots.
The Mountain Lions (3-5-1, 2-3-0 RMAC), who took 11 shots, scored first when Dami Oladiran dribbled past the defense and scored in the left corner at 12:22.
The Mavericks’ Nick Labor evened the score at 30:25 when he netted his first shot attempt of the season. Labor’s goal was assisted by Angelo.
Mesa goalkeeper Josh Tinaglia saved two of CU-Colorado Springs’ three shots.