July 1, 2016

Intermittent clouds

College basketball: Rachel Goddard returning to area to play at Malone

WADSWORTH — Rachel Goddard is moving much closer to home, as the two-time Gazette MVP transferred from Division I Miami of Ohio to play women’s basketball at D-II Malone in Canton.

Goddard’s status as a student-athlete won’t change. The Pioneers will give the 5-foot-6 point guard a partial scholarship next season and a full ride over her final two years. Goddard will not have to sit out a year since she is changing NCAA divisions.

“Before I went to Miami, Malone was on top of my list, so when I decided to transfer I knew where I wanted to go,” she said Thursday. “I really love Coach (Jason) Mishler and I know a couple girls on the team. They were really good last year. They were four points away from the national tournament, so I knew it would be a good fit for me.”

Goddard played in 10 games for the Redhawks and made 1-of-3 field goals and 4-of-6 free throws for six points in 32 minutes. Miami finished 8-18 overall and 4-14 in the Mid-American Conference.

Then-longtime coach Maria Fantanarosa told Goddard in March 2013 to expect an opportunity at rotation minutes as a freshman. That never happened due in large part to Fantanarosa’s firing one month later.

Goddard took a wait-and-see approach under new coach Cleve Wright and decided to move on.

“It wasn’t an ideal situation for me because I had gone into it with a new coach,” Goddard said. “The coach that recruited me had been let go. It was part of the process, and it didn’t work out for me.”

The Malone decision made sense to Goddard on multiple levels. The chance to play immediately was most intriguing, but the short drive from home on Interstate 77 and Mishler’s interest during Goddard’s high school career also were factors.

The Pioneers have been resurgent since leaving the NAIA and officially joining NCAA D-II in 2013. Malone won just 25 games from 2007-11 but was 21-10 overall and 14-8 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference last season.

Goddard will play alongside former SL rivals Logan Pastor and Selana Reale of Green.

“I’m very excited,” said Goddard, who majored in family studies at Miami and will likely pursue a similar major at Malone. “Coach Mishler said he’s excited for me to step in right away and be a leader, be a part of the team and contribute. My family is excited, too, because they’ll get to come to the games. I’m very excited for the next three years.”

Contact Albert Grindle at (330) 721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.

Albert Grindle About Albert Grindle

Albert Grindle is a sportswriter for the Gazette. He can be reached at 330-721-4043 or agrindle@medina-gazette.com.