Lexi Marietti, a fourth-year defender with the Cal Poly women's soccer team, is set to graduate in June with a Business degree. After redshirting in 2015, Lexi played in 30 games between 2016-17, including 16 starts. She also started all three of her appearances this season prior to an injury.
Marietti, a grad of Dana Hills High in Dana Point who has played more than 1,900 minutes in the Mustang back line, took a few moments before a recent practice to discuss soccer and her studies at Cal Poly.
I. How'd you first start playing soccer?
I think I was put into every sport and soccer was just the one I was good at and really liked more than any other sport. I don't really have great hand-eye coordination so soccer was perfect for me!
II. How big is soccer down in Orange County where you grew up?
It's huge! Every year there was a new club, and high school soccer was almost like a club within itself. You're constantly competing against the top people, and the club I was with, too — you played teams across the country so you're always playing with and against top-name players and top teams.
III. What led you to Cal Poly? Why'd you choose to be a Mustang?
Originally I wanted to go as far away as possible but after looking at schools, I just fell in love with the campus and the area. It wasn't too far from home either, which I really liked. I had a lot of friends that were going here as well and came and watched a couple of Cal Poly's games and just fell in love with the style of play and coaches and atmosphere overall.
IV. Have you always been a defender, or did you ever play up top?
Nope — I think I played (at forward) once and they were like, 'Nope, back line for the rest of your life,' [laughs] but I really enjoy being a defender, and I've been moved all across the back line.
V. How would you describe being a defender?
It's not as much technical; I think it's a lot of mind games, which I enjoy. It's anticipating the next move like a chess game, and organizing people and leading people from the back. It's also nice to see the whole view of the field, seeing what's going on and that pressure of being the last line of defense.
VI. You've been injured a couple times during your career. What were the injuries and what's it been like; it seems like it would take a lot of perseverance to keep coming back from that.
Freshman year I broke the bottom of my foot which was a little bit of a setback, but being able to redshirt freshman year I got to kind of take a backseat and observe how this all works. I was able to play in winter and got to play in some spring games, which was nice. And then sophomore and junior year I was healthy; just minor injuries, and then this year has been my biggest upset with a hip injury, but it's just kind of been about finding a new role for the team and how I can contribute.
VII. Why'd you choose Business as a major?
I did Business and concentrating in Marketing because it was super-broad and something I was especially interested in at the time, but I'm actually going to go back to school after I graduate and get my teaching credential. My goal now is to be an elementary school teacher. But I'm glad I did Business, too, because it's so useful today and I kind of have knowledge in all those aspects now.
VIII. Where are you planning to go for your credential?
Well right now I'm looking to apply to a couple different places: (Cal Poly), San Marcos or Fullerton; I'm just in the process of seeing which one is the best fit for me.
IX: What have been a few of your favorite classes at Cal Poly?
I came in loving marketing just because it was sales and kind of the fun, creative part of it, so I think I still like that side of business, and just being able to look at it a different way than just number-crunching. Always interacting with people — I think that's my biggest thing, is that I would never want to sit behind a desk and just work; I love being out there and talking to people.
X: How tough is it to balance sports and school?
It's harder than I thought it was in high school. Here it's definitely harder, and I appreciate Cal Poly because they don't treat student-athletes any differently (than regular students). You get the same workload, you're expected the same standards as other students, so that's definitely helped me a lot in terms of time management.
XI: What are your favorite things about soccer?
The girls on the team, for sure! They're definitely the reason why I'm here and they're my best friends.
— Mustang Head Coach Alex Crozier on Lexi —
"She's one of those players that gives everything she has on the field. Where, she's not the most athletically gifted player on the team but has grown up playing the game and just gives you everything she's got. She's had to deal with, this year obviously, the big setback of not being able to finish out the season, but also in years past with two different injuries, so it just shows the character she has.
Cal Poly returns home to host Hawai'i at 7 p.m. Friday. The Oct. 19 game against the Rainbow Wahine is also part of Mustang Family Weekend at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. Tickets for the matchup vs. UH are available at GoPoly.com, by calling (805) 756-4849 or by visiting the sidewalk window at the on-campus Performing Arts Center from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Mustang seniors are featured on GoPoly.com throughout the season. Photos © Owen Main / Ray Ambler / Matt Aguirre