Updated Sun, Aug 11, 2013 12:49 pm
It is often said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. For any soccer team, a strong union ensures organization and success.
The Marietta women’s soccer team has only won six matches in its last three seasons because it has lacked the consistency of one of the most important links: the head coach. This offseason, Tracy Blasius became the program’s third head coach in four seasons.
Though the wins have not been bountiful, the nine members of the class of 2014 have brought a ray of hope to a struggling program. With 368 combined appearances, the seniors bring both experience and skill to a team in need of stability.
“It’s going to be their job to keep us motivated,” Blasius said. “They are a great group of women, and I have confidence in their leadership abilities.”
During the team's 3-13-1 campaign last year, the class of 2014 combined to score seven of the team’s 15 goals while accounting for 20 of the squad's 39 points.
On the flip side, the classes of 2015 and 2016 combined to record one goal (Lauren Morain, Soph.) and one assist (Shelby Pinkston, Jr.).
Blasius acquires a struggling team, but one with a core that has potential to excel.
“On the field, we’re going to be looking for their toughness,” Blasius said.
#1 Kaitlyn Pearse, GK, Three-time letter winner
Pearse has saved 283 shots in 41 career starts, accumulating a .727 save percentage since her freshman year. The Galena, Ohio, native was the only Pioneer to play goalkeeper in 2012, registering 14 saves in the team's three victories last season, all of which were shutouts. Pearse’s goals against average has risen over the past two seasons to 2.96.
#7 Melina Feitl, F, Three-time letter winner
Feitl returns to Marietta as the team’s top point scorer after netting two goals and dishing out three assists in 2012. The 5-foot-3 striker has been an enforcer on offense, registering 38 shots on goal over the past three seasons and ranking third on the team in the same category during the 2012 season.
#10 Emily Jones, MF, Three-time letter winner
Jones is the lone senior that comes to Marietta outside of Ohio. The Novi, Mi., midfielder started all seven games she played during the 2012 campaign. Her one goal on the year came in Marietta’s 3-2 loss against Westminster. Jones has scored one goal per season over the last two years.
#13 Rebecca Thomas, F, Two-time letter winner
The 5-foot-5 forward has been a fixture in Marietta’s game plans since her freshman year, registering 43 appearances over her career. Thomas has recorded three points as a Pioneer. Six of her nine shot attempts came during vital Ohio Athletic Conference matches. Her lone goal of 2012 came in a 4-0 victory over Bethany College, which was Marietta's best offensive performance on the year.
#14 Mattie Stowell, MF/F, Two-time letter winner
With only 13 appearances under her belt, Stowell comes into 2013 as one of the least-experienced seniors. The Ashtabula, Ohio, native is one of three Pioneers to have earned a yellow card in 2012 and the only member of her class to do so. The midfielder has recorded 13 shots in her career, but has yet to put one in the back of the net.
#20 Danielle Falkner, MF/F, Two-time letter winner
Despite only making the starting lineup once in 2012, Falkner netted two goals on five shots while also dishing out an assist. She played in every game in 2012 and recorded a point in three out of four games during a 10-day stretch in September.
#21 Katie Gordon, D, Two-time letter winner
The defender has made 29 appearances since arriving in Marietta. Her 5-foot-8 frame – tied for tallest on the team – will aid the defense, as the Pioneers look to improve upon its -31 goal differential.
#23 Stacey Smith, MF/D, Three-time letter winner
Smith earned a spot in the starting lineup in 16 of Marietta's 17 games. Her three points in 2012 came against OAC foes, Heidelberg and Wilmington. Smith recorded seven shots last year, third among returning players.
#25 Rachel Hartong, D, Two-time letter winner
The 5-foot-7 defender started all 17 games for the Pioneers in 2012. Though Hartong spends much of her time in the defensive half, she managed to put two shots on goal while notching a game-winning assist against Heidelberg last year.