Updated Wed, Aug 21, 2013 1:24 pm
Armed with a new coach and returning leaders, the Marietta College men’s soccer team looks to improve on a disappointing season in 2012 that saw the Pioneers finish 4-13.
The new man at the helm for Marietta is Joe Bergin, a former Pioneer. He played keeper for Marietta from 1982-1986.
“We had some success while I was playing here,” Bergin said. “We won our only conference title [in 1984] while I was there.”
In his time as a player, Bergin put together quite a career. He currently has the second most saves in program history along with the program’s single-season saves record. Bergin, who has 19 years of coaching experience, spent the last 10 years coaching the Agnes Scott College women’s soccer team. In those 10 years, he was named conference coach of the year three times.
While Bergin may have experienced some success recently, it has been quite a different story for the Pioneers, who have struggled mightily in recent years. In the past three years the team had a combined record of 7-40-6 and 3-21-3 in the Ohio Athletic Conference. However, these recent struggles have not kept Bergin from setting high expectations for his squad.
“I was hired in March, and then in my first meeting I said, ‘We’re making the OAC playoffs,’” He said, also pointing out that the team has to “get back to playing meaningful games in November.”
In order for the Pioneers to reach their goal, they will rely heavily on junior midfielder Wesley Riley and senior goalkeeper Chris Stollar. Riley, a first team All-OAC selection in 2012, led Marietta with eight goals and four assists. Bergin fully understands Riley’s importance to his team.
“How far we go depends on how many goals Wes scores,” Bergin said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Stollar has accumulated an impressive 305 saves in his career at Marietta, which is good for third on the all-time saves list for the program. He is 72 saves away from passing his coach for No. 2 all-time and 103 away from the all-time record. The Pioneers will look for Stollar to continue that strong play this season.
Bergin and his team will kick off their season Aug. 31 against Penn State Beaver in the Marietta College Classic.