Pioneers To Host Marietta College Classic

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Head coach Tracy Blasius will coach her first Marietta home matches this weekend as the Pioneers welcome Bethany College, College of Wooster and Defiance College to the Marietta College Classic.

Marietta defeated Defiance 2-0 on Aug. 30, but will not play the Yellow Jackets this weekend.

The Pioneers met both Wooster and Bethany in 2012, losing to Wooster 3-1 and topping Bethany 4-0.

This season, Marietta (1-1, 0-0) has seen drastic improvement during its first two matches as compared to the same point in the 2012 season.

The 2013 Pioneers have scored three goals, courtesy of junior Stevie Reilly and seniors Emily Jones and Stacey Smith. It took the 2012 Pioneers until their third match, against Wooster, to record a goal.

Reilly, who also recorded an assist against Defiance, earned Marietta Female Athlete of the Week honors the week of Aug. 26.

Marietta’s offense has been aggressive on the offensive half of the pitch, outshooting opponents 34-27 and earning 11 corner kicks to their opponents’ six.

While the Pioneers remain aggressive on offense, they enter their Saturday matchup against Wooster coming off of a 3-1 loss to Westminster College (Penn.).

Going into another weekend of competition, Blasius hopes that her squad shook off the “first match” jitters and can settle into its schedule.

Blasius emphasized the importance of maintaining possession and endurance levels.

“We need to be more confident out there so that we don’t make mental mistakes,” Blasius said.

A closer look at the opponents:

College of Wooster

This season, Wooster comes to town boasting a 2-0 record. The Fighting Scots have outscored their opponents 7-1 and have outshot them 36-9.

Wooster’s defense has been stout thus far, but it is the bench that has put the Scots over the top. Five of their seven goals on the season came from the feet of substitutes.

Juniors Katherine Tuttle and Crystal Chavez, along with freshman Kathleen Kalafatis, come into the weekend as the team’s top goal scorers, each having two goals to their name.

On the defensive side of the pitch, two freshmen have been in a battle for the starting goalkeeping job. Sydney Hanzlik and Elizabeth Clark have each started a match, but Clark has played 39 more minutes and has faced seven more shots.

While Wooster has presented itself as a formidable opponent, Blasius insisted that her game plan will not be drastically different.

“We need to have a balanced attack … we need to attack balls aggressively” Blasius said,

Bethany College

The Bison travel to Marietta seeking their first win of the season. In its first two matches, the West Virginia-based team fell to Ohio Athletic Conference members Mount Union and Muskingum by a combined score of 9-2.

Senior Lindsay Sparr and freshman Julie Slezak are the only two Bison to find the back of the net in 2012 thus far.

Much like Wooster, Bethany also has a thriving goalkeeper competition. Sophomore Whitney Sparks has played 123 minutes and faced 36 shots, but she has also allowed six goals. Freshman Cheyann McQuain has spent 55 minutes in net, allowing three goals and facing 20 shots.

Blasius said that, in order to be a successful team, her squad needs to beat teams like Bethany.

“The challenge will be coming back on the second day [of the tournament] and playing at a high level,’ Blasius said.

Blasius’ squad kicks off the Classic Saturday at 1 p.m. against Wooster. The Pioneers will take the field again on Sunday at 3 p.m. against Bethany.