Deep and talented: Mavs show off their depth in scrimmages
Yes, they were only scrimmages, but once they put on the uniforms Saturday afternoon, players on the Mesa State College volleyball and women’s soccer teams got serious.
“I’m happy how hard we fought,” soccer coach Erin Sharpe said after the Maroon & White scrimmage at Walker Field. “It wasn’t dirty, but we’re seeing a new level of smart aggressiveness.
“The number of tackles all over the field, we didn’t see that last year; play on the ground, slide, get up and get possession and play out of it.”
There were several hard tackles on Walker Field turf and a couple of players took point-blank shots off their faces, but played on.
“We’re just a couple of days away from naming that first travel squad and everybody wants to be on it,” Sharpe said. “They’re making it difficult for the coaching staff. We’ll have it figured out by Friday, but I’m glad we still have a few days of training.”
Volleyball coach Dave Fleming is close to settling on his rotation, but the depth the Mavericks have isn’t making it easy. In their Maroon & White scrimmage, the Mavs put on an impressive hitting display, but were just as impressive on the defensive side.
“(The depth) is better this year,” Fleming said, bending down to knock on the wood floor at Brownson Arena after four competitive games.
“Part of having depth is being healthy, but we’re pretty solid in every position and we’ve got some freshmen who can play.”
The Mavs need to replace both starting outside hitters, but Meagan Bosch, a 6-foot senior, has plenty of experience on the right side.
“We have a good incoming group of freshmen and a lot of depth at each position,” Bosch said. “It’s awesome. It makes practices more competitive for starting spots, and in games, we know that if someone’s having an off time, there are three other people who can step in.”
The men’s soccer team scrimmaged a men’s adult team Saturday night at Walker Field — all three teams open their seasons Friday on the road.
The men’s soccer team plays at Colorado Christian, the women against Augustana (S.D.) College in Durango, and the volleyball team at the Oredigger Classic at Colorado School of Mines in Golden.
Saturday was the last time fans could get a glimpse of any of the teams until late September — the soccer teams play their first home games on Sept. 22.
The soccer teams played one player down much of the second half because of a minor injury, but Sharpe said it worked out well.
“We had to apply a lot of game tactics that are very realistic in the season that you can’t do in training,” she said. “We were players down, so we had to figure out, if we get a red card, how to play with 10. We had to play up a goal, down a goal, both teams had to apply tactics.”
The coaches are glad they have a few more practices to make final decisions on positions and to fine-tune their game plans.
“I thought the defense was really good,” Fleming said. “We weren’t making a lot of silly mistakes, and that’s very typical for early in the year. That’s encouraging.
“I’ll be watching this tape and four more practices before Golden.”
The players, though, can’t wait to get started.
“We get so you know where everyone wants to hit and where to serve,” Bosch said. “It’ll be so nice to finally play someone who doesn’t know I like to hit line and Whitney (Howard) is always covering. It’ll be great.”