EARLY AND OFTEN
Quick goals lift Mesa women, men to victories
After winning in the final four minutes Friday, the Colorado Mesa women’s soccer team flipped the script Sunday.
Amanda Wenzel scored 12 minutes, 8 seconds into the game and the Mavericks (2-2) took care of Nebraska-Kearney 2-0 at Walker Field.
“That was our game plan. We knew they would probably be tired, their second game at altitude, so we wanted to come out with all guns blazing the first 15, 20 minutes, and we showed that,” CMU coach Jason Clare said. “The girls responded really well to what we wanted from them.”
Wenzel was happy to see the early goal find the back of the net.
“One of our goals in the locker room before coming out was to score early, because we didn’t want to have a game like we did on Friday,” she said. “Even though it was a good game, we wanted to keep ourselves up and confident through the whole game. The early goal was good for us.”
The Lopers (2-1-0) played at Western State in Gunnison on Friday, and Sunday’s warm weather started wearing on them, especially trying to come from behind. Most of the second half was a game of kickball, with the Mavericks continuing to attack the goal, taking 15 total shots.
The Lopers had nothing left to generate much offense and play on both sides slowed considerably in the final 10 minutes.
“The legs are heavy,” Clare said with a chuckle. “We just have to keep working. I’m proud we kept our concentration. You go back a few years and we didn’t have that. We felt controlled, but in the game of soccer, one lapse of concentration is a goal and your backs are against it.”
Wenzel said the Mavericks learned in California the importance of quick starts.
“California, even though we didn’t do well, it was a very, very good learning curve for us,” she said. “Playing against fast teams and coming here, it made us a lot faster and we’re seeing more opportunities.”
Alexis Allard gave the Mavericks a 2-0 lead midway through the first half. Freshman keeper Jessica Jolley recorded her second consecutive shutout, making one save — the defense allowed Kearney only three shots.
Clare can see the confidence growing, and the grit the Mavs played with last season is still there.
“One of our biggest things last year was we never gave up and had great character,” he said. “We demonstrated that again; that character is still with us.”
Todd Padgett said from Day 1 that this CMU team could score from all over the field.
The No. 16 Mavericks (4-0) showed that Sunday, getting goals from three different players in a 3-1 victory over St. Mary’s at Walker Field, another big South Central Region victory.
Colorado Mesa has scored seven goals this season, spreading the scoring among five players.
The Mavericks applied constant pressure to the Rattlers’ defense, taking 14 shots to St. Mary’s seven.
Malik Mennana got things started quickly, taking a pass near the post from Slater Elkind only 5 minutes, 45 seconds into the game. A little more than 10 minutes later, Kevin Del Mazo made it 2-0 when Andres Delgadilo passed across the box and Del Mazo finished for his second goal of the season.
Moshe Perez finished CMU’s scoring with about 15 minutes to play off the feed from Roberto Diaz, scoring from the middle of the box. Perez’s second goal of the season came after St. Mary’s scored off a free kick at the 63:14 mark.
It was the first goal allowed by goalkeeper Briley Guarneri, who had shut out the previous three opponents. He’s made nine saves in four games.