The time has come for fall sports to resume, and this year should be a good one for Pioneer athletics. After many improvements from the previous years, each team is looking to find success and improvement.
Whether they can repeat last year’s success is the big question, as the men’s golf team brought Malone its first GLIAC championship last year. They lose four main contributors from last year’s team to graduation, and those contributors can be hard to replace, especially as one of them was a first team All-American.
With Division II coach of the year Ken Hyland returning, the team is looking to continue the success that last year’s team brought to the program. This year’s team is led by seniors Kenny Earle, Garrison Myles and Ryan Headley and is ranked 11th nationally. Myles competed last year in the national tournament, so he has a taste of what to expect as he leads the young group.
The team kicks off the season hosting its own Fall Classic at the Tannenhauf Golf Course in Alliance, Ohio, September 12-13.
The women’s golf team is on the rise. Competition has already begun, and the team has been doing well thus far. They are a young and ready team coming into the season, made up of all sophomores and freshmen. Kaitlyn Brant leads the team.
At the recent Grove City College (PA) Invitational, sophomore Hannah Maczko helped lead the team to a third place finish as she finished third overall individually.
Women’s cross country
The women’s cross country team has always had solid runners, leading them to be ranked 25th nationally entering the season. Last year’s team had an outstanding
runner in Tina Oprean who has recently graduated. Oprean broke a few of the university’s long-standing records in cross country as well as outdoor season.
The team has other runners in line to help replace recent graduates. Hannah Campbell, Sarah Meek, Sara Polatas, Mattison Rankin and Madison Schuler all have great potential. Each respectively placed in the top ten at the Tommy Evans Invitational hosted by the University of Akron. Campbell finished third overall at the meet, and the team won.
Men’s cross country
Last years men’s team finished second in the conference out of 15 and sixth nationally out of 29 teams. The men’s team returns a solid group of runners and a strong core as well. This group has seasoned veterans and is poised for success this season.
At the Tommy Evans invitational, the men’s team defeated every opponent. There, they had five people finish in the top 15 and four finish in the top 10. Jordan McKelley lead the way for the team to finishing second overall, while Ryan Roush, Andrew Trusty, Scott Whitaker, Luis Carbajal helped bring in points.
The next meet for both the men’s and women’s teams will take place on campus on September 19th at 5 p.m.
The volleyball team is also a fairly young group, although it is led by four seniors Brianna Clegg, Katie Hasebein, Taylor Slauterbeck, and Anna Hays. Junior Elizabeth Maczuzak will also play a major role on the team.
Hasebein and Slauterbeck have been solid contributors on the team since coming to college. The team has players that know what it takes to win. They must stay consistent and healthy to reach the goal of a conference championship this year.
Last season, the team finished 5-10-1 overall and are looking to improve this year. They graduated a huge senior class last year, and some who graduated led the team in scoring. The question arises: who will score for the team this year?
In the conference last year the team finished third in scoring (32) and second in assist (27). Improvement will come because of the veteran group and the ambition from the team to win.
Josh Jones enters his second year as head coach of the team and is looking to improve on last year’s record of 4-12-1. This year’s team is very young, having no seniors on the team. It is led by the four juniors Ashley Fleming, Amanda Najjar, Leah Arnold and Natalie Rostedt.
Sophomore Christine Najjar returns as well. She was named to the Ohio Collegiate Soccer Association 2013 All-Ohio NCAA Division II Team and was an All-GLIAC Honorable Mention selection. She also led the team in scoring last year.
There are several newcomers to the team. Sophomore Shannon Grimes joined the team this year after participating on the women’s basketball team. She will be playing goalie for the team this year.
Football returns with a strong group that’s ready to go. The group returns with one of the top players in the nation, senior Demarco Donaldson. A few pre-season All-Americans are also returning, including Brenson Ennis, Fred Clearman III, and Brock Lundeen.
Besides those players, the offense returns 8 of its 11 starters from last year, while the defense returns 7 starters. The team improved last year from its first season in the GLIAC, and they look to continue to build and bring in some more wins this season.