Tinaglia shining for Mesa State soccer team in goal

Mesa State College’s goalkeeper Joel Tinaglia grimaces as he makes the save during Sunday’s game against the Ft. Lewis Skyhawks.



Josh Tinaglia decided he needed a change.

The junior goalkeeper from Littleton transferred to Mesa State last year and the Mavericks are glad he did.

After splitting time in goal last year, Tinaglia has started every game for the Mavericks (6-2-0, 3-1-0 RMAC), who dropped out of the NSCAA Top 25 this week. He has made 44 saves and has a .898 save percentage with three shutouts and started another shutout win.

“He’s probably playing at the level of an All-American now,” Mesa State coach Josh Pittman said. “We haven’t played to our potential yet. We play with tremendous confidence with him in goal. I’m confident we’ll be in every game with him back there.”

Tinaglia and the Mavericks take a break from RMAC play this weekend, but Mesa State faces Tinaglia’s former team, Eastern New Mexico University, as well as Westminster (Utah) College in nonconference games this weekend. Mesa State hosts Westminster (6-2-2) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Walker Field and Eastern New Mexico (2-1-2) at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday. CSU-Pueblo comes to Grand Junction to play Westminster and Eastern New Mexico as well.

“Both games are important,” Pittman said. “Eastern New Mexico is a regional matchup. Westminster is important if you look at strength of schedule. They beat Metro 3-1. Depending on our result with Metro, it is important.”

Tinaglia went to Eastern New Mexico out of high school, but redshirted his first year, then backed up another goalkeeper as a redshirt freshman.

“They weren’t cutting it,” Tinaglia said. “I didn’t see it going anywhere. Then I saw Mesa was starting a program. I started looking into it and heard nothing but great things.

“I had my dad contact coach Pittman. I got my release and called Pittman. I came here for two-a-days. I love the program and the city.”

Pittman watched Tinaglia train with his club team in March 2007 and offered him some scholarship money.

Tinaglia, who was recruited by the current Eastern New Mexico coach, split time with Billy Martinez early last season, but emerged as the regular starter down the stretch as the Mavericks barely missed making the RMAC tournament in the program’s first year.

“We started coming together last year,” Tinaglia said. “I think one of the major components is we have more experience. (Former player) Nick Gumpert set the program high

“We’re playing with more swagger. We’re a lot more organized and communication has helped a lot. We work more on defense. That’s what killed us last year. I feel great how we’re playing.”

In the summer, Tinaglia worked on his game as well, attending the Premier Soccer Academy near Cleveland, Ohio in the summer. There, he learned from English Premier League player Brad Friedel, who was the U.S. goalkeeper for two World Cups.

“That was a great experience,” Tinaglia said. “I worked with a lot of former pros and learned what it takes to get to the next level. I learned a lot of tactics. They called me a raw piece of meat. It helped me to come along.”

WOMEN

The Mesa State women’s team takes a break from RMAC play this weekend with a rare road trip to Hawaii.

The Mavericks (5-2-0, 2-2-0 RMAC) play the University of Hawaii-Hilo (3-3) at 9 p.m. (MST) Friday, Hawaii Pacific University (2-4) at 3 p.m. on Sunday and finish with Brigham Young University-Hawaii (5-1) at 9 p.m. on Monday.

“When I first got here, I was contacted by the BYU-Hawaii coach,” Mesa State coach Erin Sharpe said. “He had a team drop out and they needed one more regional game, as did we. They offered to pay some of our expenses to get there.  It was the largest guarantee offer they’ve made.”

Sharpe has noticed having the Hawaii trip on the schedule has increased the competition on the team.

“This will help make the culture of the team more competitive,” Sharpe said. “I restricted the travel roster to
18. I think it motivated the players to work harder in the summer and this trip will help us in the recruiting process.”


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