Marietta blanks Dover, 5-0, remains unbeaten
DEVOLA — Marietta just keeps rolling.
A ferocious offensive attack spearheaded by Dillon Meagle’s first career hat trick led the Tigers to a 5-0 victory over Dover on Tuesday. While Dover had a few good looks early on (including a shot of the top of the post from Ethan Kopp in the second minute), Marietta GK Caden Gebczyk weathered the early storm. On the night, Gebczyk recorded eight saves to secure another Tiger shutout, Marietta’s fourth of the year.
As for Meagle, he got the scoring started in the 11th minute when David Sarver fired a pass to him that gave him enough separation from his assignment. From there, he tallied his first goal, but he wasn’t done yet. The Meagle-Sarver connection worked once again in the 18th minute to the same result. It was his second ball to find the back of the net, as MHS (8-0) made Dover keeper Grant Mastrione’s long night even longer. Meagle’s second goal came after an MHS corner that Mastrione and the Tornadoes couldn’t clean up. From there, Sarver found Meagle for the score. Both sides had half a dozen corners, but Marietta created more chances to score. That’s exactly what head coach Todd Morris wanted to see out of his group. The up-tempo offense was too much for Dover to overcome, as the lopsided result gave the Tigers a regular season sweep over their East Central Ohio League opponent.
“They’re always quality,” Morris said of Dover following the victory. “They’re well-coached and are a physical group. They play the right way. We had our work cut out for us, so we knew it would be a battle. Going up early helps, and we play a style where we can hold the ball and pin teams in. We work the ball enough and have enough quality where we can rotate, and just keep pressing them. We chase and wear them down, while we’re still fresh at the end.”
That strategy was on full display.
The pair of Meagle goals gave MHS a 20-0 advantage going into the locker room, as Marietta looked for even more. The first time these teams met, goals from Gabe Sloter, Brody McGregor and Mac Threatt led the way to a 3-1 win on August 26. Threatt continued his ways against Dover by bringing in the match’s third goal off an assist from Nate Ketchum in the 55th minute. Following an unassisted Tarver goal which saw him single-handedly cut through a majority of the Tornadoes’ defense in the 69th, Meagle’s last goal came just a minute later.
Threatt had the ball in a 1-on-1 situation against Mastrione going own the middle of the field when he fired a pass to his left to Meagle. Then, Meagle buried the shot that followed. He described what he saw in the moments leading up to that third goal.
“I was running, and I was like, ‘Is he gonna shoot this thing?'” Meagle said. “Then, I saw him pass it to me, and I thought, ‘Yes! It’s time for my hat trick!’ It was my first ever hat trick of my high school career, and it felt good against a strong team like Dover. It shows that we are a strong team, and we can compete with strong teams. After last year, dropping that 2-1 defeat to Dover (during the 2020 season-opener). This year was the first time we ever beat Dover up there, and that was good. To get the sweep over Dover always feels good, especially to see in the league standings how it puts us up there. Making it to districts is the least we want to do, and obviously state is our main goal. I really hope we can do that. I think we have a team that can do that.”
Marietta looks to keep up the streak, as a 7 p.m. Thursday night home game against Alexander is its next big test. The Spartans are coming off a 2020 season which saw them become state semifinalists.
Contact Josh Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org