Bench players lift Mesa men to victory with plenty in reserve
They started the game on the bench, but they ended the game on the field.
The Mesa State College men’s soccer reserves came in early in the second half and scored three goals in a little more than four minutes to lift the No. 23 Mavericks to a 4-0 RMAC victory Colorado Christian University on Friday at the newly christened Walker Field.
“A lot of the non starters had something to prove,” sophomore midfielder Reece Flores said. “We took care of business. We felt confident coming off the bench and getting a chance to play together. The goals started coming.”
Flores scored the first goal in the second half at 56:53 on a penalty kick for a 2-0 lead and more importantly, ignited the Mavericks’ offense. Less than three minutes later, Nathan Farmer scored in traffic, then Fruita Monument High School graduate Stephen Hofer scored on an assist by Tyler Amerman at 61:01.
“Tyler is my roommate,” Hofer said. “We tend to find each other. I just finished it for him.”
It was Hofer’s first game this season after sitting out the first six games for breaking team rules.
“I wanted to do something to contribute,” Hofer said. “The success of the team comes from hard practices. Coach puts the starters against the reserves for a reason. It makes us angry. It makes the program better.”
All three players scored their first goals as Mavericks. It was the first career collegiate goals for Flores and Farmer.
“(The reserves) came out firing,” Mesa State coach Josh Pittman said. “They knocked the ball down. I’ve been waiting all year for us to play like that.
“We have a lot of good players on this team. Some of the guys are too complacent. The second group sent a message they can play and score. I’m very pleased with their play.”
Sam Dixon gave Mesa State (6-1-0, 3-0-0 RMAC) a 1-0 lead on a goal assisted by his roommate and long-time friend Jake Jobe at 19:35.
Mesa State had 24 shots to the Cougars’ four.
Josh Tinaglia had two saves before Tony Silvestri finished the game without facing a shot on goal.
Mesa State dominated play for the entire 90 minutes, but scored only one goal in a 1-0 RMAC victory over Colorado Christian.
Freshman Dany Ramirez’s header from Kira Brannan at 3:55 was enough for Mesa State (5-1-0, 2-1-0 RMAC), even though the Mavericks had 23 shots to the Cougars’ four.
“One of my individual goals is to get my head on a corner kick,” Ramirez said. “Anybody on the team is capable of scoring. We need to keep focusing on the goal.”
Ramirez had five shots, including four on goal, to lead the Mavericks. Natalie Koen had four shots.
“It’s frustrating because we had one goal out of 19 shots,” Mesa coach Erin Sharpe said. “That’s not the percentage we’re looking for. We played much better in the second half, but we’ve got to find a way to be more selfish in the 18 (yard penalty box).”
Mesa State goalkeeper Kaitlin Bennett made two saves.