Mesa State keeps its cool to defeat Westminster College

No. 21, Jake Jobe from Mesa State (in white) and No. 4, Jeff Gardner from Westminster College go up for a header.

The Mesa State College and Westminster (Utah) College men’s soccer teams combined for more yellow cards than goals before cooler heads prevailed.

The Mavericks kept their poise long enough to defeat Westminster (Utah) College 3-1 in a nonconference game Friday night in a game that featured seven yellow cards and one red card at Walker Field.

“The first five minutes we came out strong,” Mesa State goalkeeper Josh Tinaglia said. “At the end of the first half, we started getting chippy like they did. We had to get our composure. Once we did, we started scoring goals. You’ve got to keep your heads in it.”

The Mavericks (7-2-0) play Eastern New Mexico (2-2-2) at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Greyhounds lost 2-0 to CSU-Pueblo earlier Friday at Walker Field. CSU-Pueblo (5-4-0) plays Westminster (6-3-2) at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Mesa State’s three goals came from three new players on the roster this year — Andy Cornia, who redshirted last season, freshman Marco Angelo and sophomore George Hunt, who transferred from Laramie County (Wyo.) Community College. The trio was a beneficiary of a tweak in the formation this week.

“We played well in practice,” Hunt said. “We’re starting to click.”

The Griffins, though, appeared to score the first goal seven minutes into the game, but assistant referee Bob Atkins ruled them offsides, disallowing the goal.

Fifteen minutes later, Cornia scored the first goal at 22:22 off an assist by senior Eric Anderson.

Tinaglia, who made six saves on the night, blocked a close-in shot two minutes later to keep the Mavericks in front at halftime.

Early in the second half, referee Chris Levesque issued the fourth and fifth yellow cards of the game.

“I played with all those guys (on Westminster),” Angelo said. “It was getting heated, but I love everyone single one of those guys.”

Westminster’s Mark Stoker tapped in a Tinaglia deflection to tie the game at the 55:32 mark.

The score remained tied until Sam Dixon fed a nice through ball to Angelo, who knocked the ball past Westminster goalkeeper Valan Campbell for a 2-1 lead at 69:05.

“Sam gave me a great ball,” Angelo said. “Luckily, I was there and saw an opening. Sam made it easy for me on that one.”

A few minutes later, Tinaglia blocked the Griffins’ best chance at tying the game again when he deflected away two shots, including one shot taken within a couple of feet of him.

“I thought I was going to carry it out far enough, but I kind of screwed myself,” Tinaglia said. “It was my own fault I had to make a second save. It was a hard shot from that distance. Fortunately I got up and made it.”

The Griffins continued to get more frustrated as the game wore on and Andrew Tovstein was issued a red card for arguing at 82:56, leaving his team one man short for the final seven minutes.

Mesa State took advantage immediately, with Hunt scoring from the left side on an assist from Dixon at 84:44.

“It was good to secure the game,” Hunt said. “I don’t really care if I score goals. I’ve scored enough in my life.
It’s not that big of a deal.”


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