Mav goalie set for final season
Josh Tinaglia realizes this is it.
It’s his last opportunity to play college soccer before a possible career in law enforcement.
“You want to work hard and make sure you don’t regret it,” Tinaglia said.
The Mesa State College senior captain plans to do just that as the Mavericks open their third season against Adams State in a nonconference game at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Walker Field.
“We have leadership and older players,” Mesa State coach Josh Pittman said. “Josh is the captain and one of the best goalkeepers around. We have great goalkeeping. Billy
Martinez is challenging Josh. We know we are strong back there.”
The Mavericks limited their opponents to 30 goals in 20 games last season and narrowly missed the RMAC tournament, finishing 10-10 (6-8 RMAC).
Tinaglia made the most saves of any goalkeeper in the RMAC (116) and had the second-best save percentage (.795). He posted five shutouts.
“I’ve gotten better mostly in the fact that I’ve gotten smarter with the game,” Tinaglia said. “With goalkeepers, it’s more experience than anything. I feel more in tune to the speed of the RMAC. It comes down to experience and I feel comfortable.”
In front of Tinaglia are returning juniors Jake Jobe, Alex Mattevi and Mitchell Reid.
Sophomore transfers Jay Cort (Valparaiso) and Kody King (Belmont Abbey) will contribute on defense.
The Mavericks, though, lost their all-time leading goal scorer, Eric Anderson, to graduation. Sophomore forward Andy Cornia is back after leading the team with six goals last year. He will be joined by senior Reese Kegans and freshman Brandon
Burton up top.
“Hopefully, we’re much more balanced this year,” Pittman said. “We have a lot more ways we can go at you, so we can score a bunch of different ways.”
Midfielders helping with the attack include sophomore transfer Ryan McClanahan (Eastern New Mexico), junior Sam Dixon and sophomore Marco Angelo.
“Last year, we were not able to sneak up on anybody,” Pittman said. “A lot of teams played their best games against us, which was quite unique for a second-year program.
We know what we need to do to be a high-level program. We picked up a couple great new, young players. Our goal is to get to the RMAC tournament and have a chance to win it.”
Sophomore forward Ben Medina is out for the season with a torn knee ligament.
Women HAVE VETERAN TEAM
Dany Ramirez caught teams by surprise with her speed last year, leading the Mavericks with nine goals.
“I didn’t expect to do that great,” Ramirez said. “I picked it up really quick. I thought I’d have to do a lot of work, knowing it’s tougher competition. I was a little worried.”
The junior forward and preseason All-RMAC pick, who transferred to Mesa last fall, knows it won’t be so easy this year.
“I’m definitely working more on my shot and decision making,” Ramirez said. “I have to look a lot more where I’m at on the field. I can’t expect to take defenders one-on-one like last season. I’m going to have to look for my teammates a lot more around the box. If it’s there, I’m going to have to take (the shot).”
Ramirez is one of seven returning starters for the Mavs, who made the RMAC tournament and finished 12-9-1 (7-6 RMAC) last season. Others are senior midfielders Kira Brannan, Jami Simpson and Sherilyn Stoffel and juniors Marissa Cascio and Natali Koen.
This year, they expect to be back and challenge for the RMAC championship. Mesa opens the season Thursday against Winona State (Minn.) in Kearney, Neb.
“We were pleased last year getting to the conference tournament,” second-year coach Erin Sharpe said. “For us, the next big milestone is getting to the NCAA tournament. Our expectations of doing a lot better in the conference are pretty high. It’s our team goal is to get to the conference final. With our returning players and our depth and competitiveness of our new players, it’s very realistic.”
Junior goalkeeper Alicia Kahler (North Idaho College) will challenge returning keepers Julia Rasmussen and Kaitlin Bennett for the starting spot.
Freshmen Brittany Cito (midfielder), Kelci Crispe (defender), Jessica Kent (midfielder/defender) and Jackie Ramsey (forward) will challenge for starting spots, Sharpe said.
Sharpe has another returning player she didn’t expect to have in Brenna Rice.
The defender decided to return for her fifth year after deciding to pick up a second major.