Night one draw
Grizzlies tie Mesa 2-2 in first ever men's soccer match; by Rebecca Sturdy
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – 2009 is the first ever year Adams State College fielded a men’s soccer team and the Grizzlies kicked off the inaugural season in a big way by taking conference foe Mesa State to a 2-2 draw after two overtimes Thursday night.
Mesa State, ranked sixth in the conference preseason poll in their third year with the conference, jumped out to the lead nearly 27 minutes into the first half with a goal that hit the net in the lower left corner. Sam Pinegar crossed the ball to Danny Westcott and the Mavericks were able to capitalize on the scoring opportunity.
However, the Grizzlies were not to be denied and defender David Powers responded just two minutes later. Powers, a former forward from Fairbanks, Alaska via North Idaho College, hit a bomb from 30 yards out that found the top right hand corner of the goal to score the first ever Adams State goal.
“Powers scoring the goal two minutes after their goal was a huge momentum swing for us,” said head coach Josh Nolker. “Not only did it even the score, but it got the guys really fired up for the rest of the second half.”
With the score tied at one goal a piece going into halftime, the Grizzlies had the momentum coming out of the break and did not waste any time getting the second half rolling.
Seven minutes into the frame, Jesse Dunbar (Spokane, Wash.) lofted a corner kick from the left side of the field and connected with Peter Freeman (Longmont, Colo.) who headed the ball into the goal from the far post. Freeman’s goal game the Grizzlies their first ever lead in the very short program history.
“Petey’s header was just awesome,” said Nolker. “Jesse played the ball from the corner kick and Petey just out worked everyone on the field and managed to head a head on the ball and flick it into the goal on the back side.”
However, the Grizzly’s lead was not to last. In the 76th minute, Ryan McClanahan hooked up with Mike Eaton to score Mesa State’s second goal when a McClanahan found the back on Eaton’s cross.
With the score tied, both teams played at a furious and physical clip, but the regulation period ended with without either team making a dent in the score. After two 10-minute overtime frames, the game was called in a 2-2 draw.
“The game went pretty well overall and both teams played very hard,” said Nolker. “Our defense played very well this evening and was definitely the catalyst for our squad. However, we still have a few kinks to iron out.”
In Adams State’s first ever outing, Nolker played a 2-4-4 field starting Kellen Walker (Alamosa, Colo.) and Bryan Heath (Port Orchard, Wash.) at forward, Freeman, Dunbar, Chase Talbot (Evanston, Wyo.) and Joseph Jallow (Brikama, Gambia) in the midfield and Powers, Caleb Johnson (Spokane, Wash.), Tres Clark (Monte Vista, Colo.) and Jordan Selland (Spokane, Wash.) at defense. The starting line combined for 11 shots, 10 of which were on goal for a 90.9 percent shooting efficiency.
Nic Gonzales (St. George, Utah), Rami Avalos (Alamosa, Colo.), Jonny Ortiz (Kennewick, Wash.) and Zach Northern (Castle Rock, Colo.) all logged timed off the bench and combined for three shots, two of which were on goal.
The impressive shot on goal percentage was a formidable strength for the Grizzlies as they were out- shot 28-11 through the four frames. The Adams State defense was stifling as Mesa State was only able to place 10 of 28 shots on goal.
Jarod Thomas played all 110 minutes in the net for the Grizzlies. The 6-foot redshirt freshman from Aravada, Colo., logged eight saves in the effort, four of which came during the two overtime periods.
The Grizzlies return to action in three days time when Adams State travels to Durango to take on the Fort Lewis, the No. 10 Division II team in the nation, on Sunday. Kick-off is slated for 1 p.m. at Dirks Field.
The Grizzlies then play their first ever home match on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. against UC-Colorado Springs.