It’s not about how you start, but rather how you finish. This time tested mantra certainly describes the Marietta College men’s soccer team. The pioneers only won two of their first six games of the season before winning five of their next seven games to begin their ascent up the OAC standings. The Pios ended the regular season with an upset of nationally ranked third Ohio Northern for their first win over the Polar Bears since 2002 to finish the regular season at ten wins, eight losses and one tie.
With the win over ONU and the 10-8-1 record, the Pioneers not only qualified for the OAC tournament, but also finished high enough to host their first round game against Heidelberg. This was something the Pioneers were familiar with as they had faced the Student Princes in the first round in their last three post season appearances and had been eliminated by Heidelberg in 2009, 2014, 2015. Despite recent history, the Pioneers carried their momentum from their big win over ONU into the game and downed Heidelberg 1-0 on an amazing goal from freshman Cole Pappas.
The Pioneers then faced OAC regular season top finisher John Carroll whom ended the Pioneers championship hopes in a 1-7 loss for Marietta.
While they may not have finished the season the way they wanted to, the Pioneers still posted an impressive season that Marietta hadn’t seen in many years. The Pioneers improved their goal differential from last year from four goals to nine and collected two more wins than last year’s team. Then there are the aforementioned big wins over nationally ranked Ohio Northern and playoff win over rival Heidelberg. In addition, the Pioneers also had one of the top goalies in the OAC in Tyler Sholl who only allowed 1.07 goals per game and marked 62 saves on the season to anchor the Marietta defense.
The Pioneers will lose seniors Sebastian Parra, Matt Pintell, Andi Goreta, Adam Fox, and top scorer from the past two season Taylor Reasoner. However, with nine freshman on the roster this season and more youth to be recruited, the Pioneers appear deep enough to carry this success into next season.