Pioneers face off vs. Wilmington Quakers Saturday

RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times Marietta College’s Alexis Enochs, left, drives to the basket during a college women’s basketball game earlier this season at Ban Johnson Arena.

Marietta College took another tumble in the national rankings.

After being as high as No. 6 in the men’s top 25 poll a couple of games ago, the Pioneers (6-2 overall, 1-2 Ohio Athletic Conference) slipped to 13th last week and are now 20th.

Jon VanderWal is more concerned, though, about MC’s next OAC contest against Wilmington College (3-5, 0-3) at Fred Raizk Arena at 3 p.m. Saturday.

“That won’t be easy,” said the 11th-year Marietta College head coach after the Pioneers dropped a 93-82 decision to visiting John Carroll University (6-1, 2-1) last Saturday. “It’s always a war there. It’s a tough place to play.”

Last season, MC swept the Quakers, winning 104-77 at the BanJo and 94-79 at Raizk Arena.

If Marietta is going to continue its winning ways against Wilmington, it’s going to have to take care of the ball and rebound on the offensive glass better than it did versus John Carroll.

The Pioneers had to work hard against JCU’s full-court press and finished with 16 turnovers, 10 after the break. And, on the offensive boards, they gave up way too many second shots to the Blue Streaks and were outrebound, 19-8, in the contest.

According to VanderWal, turnovers and rebounding were the differences in the game.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys,” he said. “We’re a work in progress. We’ve got some returnees but we’ve got a lot of new guys trying to figure some things out. We’ve just got to keep working, and try to get better every day.”

Against Wilmington, MC is expected to start Dillon Young, Anthony Wallace, Kyle Dixon, Avery Williams, and Caleb Hoyng.

The Quakers, who have lost three in a row, will probably counter with Christian Jones — a 1,000-point-plus career scorer — D.J. Iles, Jordan Jones, Andrew Russell, and Nathan Scott.

Meanwhile, at 3 p.m. Saturday at Ban Johnson Arena, the D3 21st-ranked and undefeated MC women (7-0, 3-0) will be seeking to extend their winning streak to eight against always-tough Wilmington (5-2, 2-1).

If the navy blue and white cagers win, they will equal the best start in the program’s history. The 1985-86 and 1989-90 MC teams also jumped out to an 8-0 start.

The Kole Vivian-coached Pioneers, who are coming off a 73-62 triumph at John Carroll (2-5, 0-3), are expected to start Amisha Herd, Corrie Burkhardt, Brooke Borich, Shay Lett, and Jenna Andersen.

Look for the Quaker starting five to be Mackenzie Campbell, Emily Harman, McKayla Binkley, Savannah Hooper, and Faith Teaford.