Pioneers showed grit, toughness

Never ever give up.

That’s what the Marietta College men’s soccer team did Sunday afternoon on the artificial surface at Don Drumm Stadium, and it produced an amazing 3-2 come-from-behind overtime triumph over Baldwin Wallace University.

It was amazing, because the Pioneer booters trailed the Yellow Jackets 2-0 late in regulation time — and the match seemed all but over.

Think about that for a moment. In soccer, at virtually any level of play, a 2-0 advantage with less than 14 minutes remaining in the contest is almost insurmountable.

“We could’ve just said, ‘Let’s focus on Wednesday (vs. Muskingum University),'” said Marietta senior striker Taylor Reasoner. “But we gave everything we had.”

Everything — and then some.

“We were doing good in the game,” said MC head coach Joe Bergin. “It wasn’t like they (BW Yellow Jackets) had tons of shots on us. We weren’t playing badly, but we needed to get a goal.”

Bergin paused and smiled.

“We did, and then everything changed,” the Pioneer boss added.

Reasoner scored the first MC goal, his fourth of the season.

“Taylor’s had a tough go this year,” Bergin said, “because teams now know about him, and they’re marking the heck out of him — and kicking the heck out of him and making his life really miserable. But yet, he found a way to get it done.

“We kept moving him around, and he didn’t like us moving him around. But we were just trying to get him a little bit of freedom. It allowed other guys to get into it. All in all, it was exciting.”

A couple of minutes later, Marietta freshman Sebastian Ziaja got the equalizer.

It was a brand new ballgame, which ultimately went into overtime.

Perhaps fittingly, Reasoner got the golden goal in the extra session.

“This is definitely up there,” Reasoner said. “I mean, to come back from 2-0 late in the second half…I’ve been here a long time, and this might be one of the tops.

“We left everything we had on this field. That’s what I told the guys when we were going into overtime, do not walk off this field until you give everything that you have. And, you know, that’s what we did.”

Reasoner grinned.

“It was a great way to start the OAC play 1-0,” he continued. “Hopefully, we can keep it going.”

Marietta College (6-4-1 overall, 1-0 OAC) definitely has some momentum going for itself when it hosts Muskingum University (3-7-1, 0-1) at Marietta Field today at 4 p.m.

“It’s a big one,” Reasoner said. “We’re already talking about the big rivalry against Muskingum. It’s a 45-minute drive, and they’re going to come over here and try to beat us on our home field. We’re going to do everything we possibly can not to let it happen.”

Bergin, of course, is hoping that his Pioneer booters can skip the dramatics this time.

“It’s great (beating BW) but if we come out and stink the joint up in the next game, what’s the point of this?” the coach said. “We’ve just got to keep going, keep pushing, and take the momentum and excitement off of this.

“Every game in the OAC is a Cup final. The magnitude of Cup games in the real world of soccer are huge. Every game is a Cup final. We have to approach it that way.”

And, of course, never ever throw in the towel.

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at (740)373-2121, x534, or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com