Fans excited, nervous as Marietta soccer plays for OAC title Saturday

In what is only its third Ohio Athletic Conference tournament appearance, Marietta College's men's soccer team gets a chance at claiming the conference title this weekend against Ohio Northern.

The Pioneers travel to Ada a day early to get ready for the big showdown against the Polar Bears. Game starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8.

Excitement is building on campus as other student athletes and fans are pulling for a Pioneer victory. Senior basketball player Isaiah Creasap '09 is one of the many Marietta student-athletes who are hoping for the best.

"I think that it is really exciting to appear in our first OAC tournament championship game. Hopefully we can pull off a win on Saturday," he said.

A number of students and fans of Coach Patrick Holguin's team are preparing for the trek to Ada Saturday with high expectations. Marietta College junior cross country/track runner Cody Thomas '10 is proud of how well the men have played this year and hopes they continue their powerful performance in the championship game.

"Having a Marietta team in the championship is awesome," he said. "I am looking forward to our guys playing well as a team. I think we have great chemistry. Ohio Northern will make it a great game, but hopefully we can put a few more in the net than the Polar Bears and come out as OAC champs."

Previously 0-2 in conference tournament play, the Pioneers came into the 2008 tournament as the No. 4 seed. On their road to the championship game, the men advanced to the semifinals by defeating the No. 5 Heidelberg 4-1, and then to the finals by upsetting the top-seeded Capital 2-1 in overtime.

Making it three consecutive tournament victories will not be easy for the Pioneers (11-6-3). Second-seeded Ohio Northern is 16-5-1 and it defeated the Pioneers 3-0 in Marietta last Friday. A lot is at stake for both teams, as the winner will be given an automatic bid to the 2008 NCAA Division III Men's Soccer Tournament. Ohio Northern is no stranger to conference tournament play, making its ninth appearance.

Anyone who can't make the trip to Ada, can get live statistics by clicking here.