No. 16 Mavericks blank No. 7 Hilltoppers
It was a matter of when, not if.
“That’s the conversation we had at halftime. When we get the one (goal), we’re going to get the second,” Colorado Mesa soccer coach Todd Padgett said Friday night after the Mavericks upended No. 7 St. Edward’s University (Texas) 2-0 at Walker Field.
That was the mindset for the No. 16 Mavericks, especially when they left the locker room after that chat. They had two shots in the first five minutes of the second half before Kevin Del Mazo lofted a pass that found the head of Benji Delgadillo. His header from the center of the box found the back of the net, and the way the CMU defense was playing, one goal was enough.
Two goals, though, make things so much better.
That came only two minutes later, with Moshe Perez centering a pass to Del Mazo on the run. He gathered the ball in stride and finished for the two-goal lead.
“We knew we had to come out with intensity,” Del Mazo said. “This game, we had to win. We came out with full energy, the locker room, it was a great environment. We came out and outplayed them.
“That assist, I saw Benji running in and I was like, ‘That’s the guy to hit.’ That goal got me motivated, got me full of energy and when Moshe gets the ball over here, it takes one look for him to know what I’m going to do. One cross and it went in.”
The Mavericks (3-0) controlled things from the start, attacking the Hilltoppers (2-1) to the tune of 12 shots, six on goal. They allowed only five shots, two that made their way to keeper Briley Guarneri, who recorded his third shutout of the season.
Even though it’s early, a victory against a top-10 regional opponent, can only help the Mavericks when it comes to regional playoff bids.
“We have to point to a couple of reasons why the program didn’t host a playoff game last year,” Padgett said. “Late-season ties that didn’t need to be, and not-great performances against the Heartland (Conference) and Texas schools. After four games last year we were one win, two ties and one loss.
“That has to be factored into the equation when you don’t perform well against your counterpart. The first three games this year we’ve rectified that and gotten three results.”
With only 3½ minutes to play in regulation, Lauren Thompson finally found an opening.
With Halie Bergeron sending a crossing pass to Thompson in front of the net, the Colorado Mesa junior forward beat the keeper for a 1-0 victory over Texas-Permian Basin.
CMU (1-2) took 10 shots in each half and 10 were on goal, seven in the second half. Only Thompson’s final shot got past keeper Chenoa Crites.
Jessica Jolley, a Fruita Monument graduate in her first college start, made two saves.
After dropping the first two sets, Colorado Mesa rallied to win three straight sets, including coming from an early deficit in the fifth set, to beat Eastern New Mexico 23-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-17, 15-11 in the Lubbock Christian tournament.
The Mavericks then held off Southwestern Oklahoma State in four sets (25-15, 21-25, 25-16, 25-23) to improve to 5-2, 3-0 in the tournament.
Hattie Gianinetti continued to lead the Mavericks on the front line, recording 10 kills against Eastern New Mexico and 15 against Southwestern Oklahoma. MacKenzie Edwards had 13 in each match.
Taylor Woods had 21 digs in each match, bringing her career total to 1,190, ninth in program history, only one behind Stacey Vogel.
In the second match, both teams’ attack was solid, with Mesa hitting at a .349 clip and Southwestern Oklahoma .343.
The Mavericks’ attack was more balanced, with five players recording eight or more kills.