Mavericks’ pressure nets victory
When Stevie Palma jumped and rose above the crowd minutes after halftime and headed an Oliver Querin cross toward the goal, it was a new look for the Colorado Mesa University men’s soccer team.
The Mavericks run a typically conservative, possession-focused offense with ample passing in the midfield.
On Sunday, they used pressure at the top of their attack to beat Adams State 2-1 at Walker Field.
Still focused on passing, coach Josh Pittman used a bevy of forwards to create chances in the penalty box.
After Grizzlies forward Matt Anderson scored on a deflection during a 40-yard free kick, Legofi Crawford came off the bench.
About 37 minutes into the first half, Crawford worked the ball from the right wing, across midfield and into Mesa’s attacking third. Crawford beat two defenders, made a hard cut inside, then buried his breakaway near the left post.
“We were one behind and we don’t have a good record when we start off a goal behind,” Crawford said. “I just thought the team really needed a goal there. We needed the confidence, and I think it showed in the second half. We came out with a lot more confidence.”
It was less than two minutes into the second half that Palma found net on his header. The five-foot-seven forward was in the back of a crowd near the right post, and directed the ball back across the goal to the left post, beyond the outstretched arms of the Grizzlies goalie.
The Mavericks have scored six goals in the last two games, the most in back-to-back games since early in the 2012 season. Pittman said that the goal outburst is a result of finishing opportunities inside the penalty box.
“Our possession has been good,” Pittman said. “The quality of our chances has improved, and we’ve gotten on the end of a few quality chances. The quality of service during our second goal today was perfect, and you know, a win like the one we had today is just so huge.”
Mesa has never lost to Adams State in men’s soccer, improving its career record against the Grizzlies to 6-0-2. Pittman said the programs mirror one another in terms of development, and that has created a rivalry between the two squads.
“We’re a very disciplined team and (Adams State) is a very hard team,” Pittman said. “We knew they were going to knock us around because we possess the ball so well.”
Despite being outshot 23-10 and taking 11 fewer corner kicks than Regis University, Colorado Mesa picked up a tough 3-0 road win in Denver. Maverick goalie Sarah Schnetzler had seven saves in the shutout.
Ashley Wallace scored in the fourth minute and Kendra Penchoff added a goal in the 30th minute to give the Mavericks a 2-0 lead at halftime. Marie Dreher added an insurance goal in the second half.