MSU Denver women’s soccer continued its six-game winning streak on the road with a 2-1 win Oct. 7 over No. 23 Regis University.
It was a big win for the Roadrunners, moving them up to No. 8 in the top-25 coaches poll for Division II. The Roadrunners are now 10-2-1 overall and 7-1-1 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
When these teams met Sept. 14, the game was a 2-2 draw and the Rangers were No. 1 in the RMAC. But, the Roadrunners win moved them into first place. The Rangers are now in fourth.
“Anybody can be the best team at this point,” Roadrunners goalkeeper Jordan Simkins said. “But we worked hard, and we came together as a team and took over the No. 1 spot.”
The lady Runners started the game strong and kept the pressure on, but the Rangers countered with a solid defense.
The Roadrunners maintained possession of the ball for most of the first half, but with 22 minutes left on the clock, the Rangers scored. Senior midfielder Marissa Davis set up freshman Danielle Dageenakis with a header right in front of the Roadrunners goal, making it a 1-0 game.
The Roadrunners didn’t let that goal break their spirits. They kept the pressure on even as the Rangers raised their defensive intensity. The Roadrunners’ passing game was crisp and accurate, but they were still falling short of the goal.
With eight minutes left in the half, the Roadrunners made it a 1-1 game. Senior defender Hayley Reinko headed a corner kick from sophomore forward Abby Rolph through the net. The Roadrunners ended the half fired up.
“I think it was great that we equalized it before the half,” head coach Adrianne Almaraz said. “So we came back knowing that if we got that goal we wouldn’t give up another one, and I think it gave us some momentum in the second half.”
The Rangers were more aggressive in the second half, but Runners defenders didn’t allow any big plays to develop, and Simkins made some key saves in the second half.
“We were very dangerous the last 15 minutes of the first half,” Almaraz said. “We had Regis chasing us. We possessed the ball a lot better to give us more opportunities to score.”
Playing off the momentum from the first half, the Roadrunners were able to make a game-winning play with 11 minutes left.
Freshman forward Shursteen Sharpe broke free past multiple Rangers defenders. With just the goalie left to beat, she fired a shot through the net, giving her team a 2-1 advantage.
“I was really excited because it was my first goal of the season,” Sharpe said. “So, being my first goal and winning the game made it a double bonus.”
The Roadrunners controlled the ball for the remainder of the game and held off the Rangers offense for the win.
“It was very nerve-racking being tied for a while because we were down,” Sharpe said. “But then when we came back, I think we had the motivation, and I felt like we were going to win.”
Sports Editor Angelita Foster contributed to this story.