By Dave Wagner: CNJ sports writer
PORTALES — College of the Southwest men’s soccer coach Rob Irvine said his team been a bit up and down this season.
Irvine was happy to see his squad play relatively well on Sunday, though, in a 2-1 victory over Eastern New Mexico University at the ENMU pitch.
The Hobbs-based, NCAA Division III Mustangs (6-4) got the tie-breaking goal from senior forward Jarred Zitt with less than nine minutes left on a scramble in front of the net. It was his second goal of the day.
ENMU freshman Josh Tinaglia fought off a couple of shots during the sequence before Zitt punched it in from point-blank range. The play started with a corner kick.
“Obviously it’s a geographical rivalry; they’re a second-year program and we’re a third-year program,” Irvine said. “We’re trying to build a competitive atmosphere at our school.
“I thought we did a decent job of holding them down, but some of our decisions weren’t the best. In the second half, our passing wasn’t very sharp.”
Hounds coach Carlos Elizondo put Tinaglia in goal in the second half to get him some experience behind starter Leif Craddock.
“(Josh) did a decent job,” Elizondo said. “It was a good goal. They were able to get about three shots off, and eventually one is (probably) going to go in.”
ENMU (3-9-1), which absorbed its sixth one-goal loss this season, broke on top early in the first half when freshman midfielder Rhen Salas took a pass across the box from sophomore forward Jonathan Holman and beat goalkeeper Jose Mora to the lower right corner. Zitt countered with a goal later in the half that started with a corner kick by teammate Kyohei Mori.
The Hounds had trouble mounting an offense against the Mustangs, although Elizondo said he tried to make changes.
“We moved two forwards up so we could get some passes to (Holman),” he said. “We had a little more of an attack on goal, but we didn’t finish out.
“He (Irvine) did a very good job of using his system to keep us from playing back into the midfield.”
The match was the final one outside the Southwest Soccer Conference for the Hounds, who are off this week.
College of the Southwest 2, ENMU 1
CSW 1 1 — 2
ENMU 1 0 — 1
ENM — Rhen Salas (Jonathan Holman), 13:57
CSW — Jarred Zitt, 29:37
CSW — Zitt, 82:41
Shots on goal — College of the Southwest 9, Eastern New Mexico 3. Corner kicks — College of the Southwest 7, Eastern New Mexico 3. Saves — College of the Southwest 2 (Jose Mora 2), Eastern New Mexico 7 (Leif Craddock 1, Josh Tinaglia 5, team 1). Fouls — College of the Southwest 12, Eastern New Mexico 14. Yellow cards — College of the Southwest none, Eastern New Mexico 1 (Adam Diehl). Records — College of the Southwest 6-4, Eastern New Mexico 3-9-1. A — 65.