Anderson played major role in getting men’s soccer team up and running at Mesa State

Fruita Monument won only two games the past two seasons, but new coach Eric Anderson - who played at Mesa State three years ago - hopes to change that.

Eric Anderson isn’t ready for this weekend to come and go.

For the Mesa State College senior from Smithfield, Utah, it will likely be the end of a soccer career when the Mavericks close out their season with home games against Regis and Metro State.

“It goes by too fast,” Anderson said. “It feels like we just started the season. You don’t realize it’s here until you are playing the last couple games.”

The Mavericks (9-9-0, 5-7-0 RMAC), who were eliminated from RMAC tournament contention last weekend, can play the role of spoiler when they face Regis at 6 p.m. on Friday at Walker Field, then wrap up the season Sunday against No. 15 Metro State at 11 a.m.

“We want to win and have a winning season,” Anderson said. “The last time we played Regis, we dominated them. When we played Metro, it was a good game. They beat us in overtime.

“We’ve got to finish. Hopefully we can pull out a couple wins.”

The Rangers (8-6-2, 7-3-2 RMAC) are trying to hold onto an NCAA Division II regional berth and the Roadrunners (10-4-3, 7-2-3 RMAC) are looking for take over first place from third-ranked Fort Lewis and host the RMAC and possibly the regional tournaments.

“We’re looking forward to the Regis game,” Mesa State coach Josh Pittman said. “The game there was one of the turning points of the season. I felt we matched up well with them. We were confident playing them after the lightning game. That was one of the most painful losses we had.

“Metro is a perennial power. We want the opportunity to show them we can compete with them.”

Anderson was instrumental in the Mavericks becoming a competitive team in a conference that has produced national title contenders every year.

He led the Mavericks to a winning season in the program’s first season last year, setting the team standard for goals (12) and points (28).

“Eric has been very important in building the foundation of the program,” Pittman said. “I guarantee you we don’t have 16 wins (in the two-year history of the program) without Eric. If we made the RMAC tournament last year, he would’ve been the RMAC player of the year. He has helped us go forward.

He’s been one of the pillars of the program.”

Anderson is leading the Mavericks in scoring again this year with six goals and 13 points, but he’s been frustrated by defenses paying much closer attention to him this season.

Still, he’ll leave Mesa as the all-time leading scorer in his two-year career.

“When teams come to play us, they talk about not taking us lightly,” Anderson said. “We haven’t got the results we wanted this year, but this program has grown tremendously. Pittman has done a good job recruiting. Mesa will be a team to deal with.”

And Anderson won’t be far away.

The business administration major plans to stay involved in the game by coaching club teams.


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