DEVOLA - Marietta High's boys' and girls' teams each are expected to be on a practice pitch and not the new, main field at the Devola Soccer Complex when the first official day of drills kicks off at 6 p.m. tonight.
Both of the orange and black squads went through conditioning in July, and had open fields in May and June.
Last season, the Todd Morris-coached MHS boys finished with an 11-4-2 overall record, which included an East Central Ohio League championship (6-0-1) and a regular-season match victory against Chillicothe at Columbus Crew Stadium.
Times file photo
Marietta High’s Brennan Uhrig, left, battles two Chillicothe players during a match at Columbus Crew Stadium last season. Uhrig is a returning starter from last season’s Tiger team.
The Tiger booters blanked Chillicothe 4-0 in a sectional opener at the Devola Soccer Complex, but then lost 2-1 to Waverly in a final at Don Drumm Stadium.
"It just doesn't feel right going out this early (in the postseason)," said Morris after the sectional final setback. "This one's going to hurt for a while. It's frustrating because these seniors on this team have had such a great career. I love those guys."
Those graduating seniors were Daniel Haught, Steven Stollar, Matt Roberts, Chris Prescher, Cole Hamilton, keeper Jacob Hupp, and second-team All-Ohio honoree and leading scorer Tim Grosel (14 goals).
But the Marietta boys' soccer cupboard is far from bare with the return of players like Brent Huck, Brennan Uhrig, Jacob Holdren, Eric Pierce, Skylar Miracle, Colin Jordan, Andrew Roberts and Tanner Rake, all of whom either started or played significant minutes on the pitch last season.
Still, Morris will have some key positions to fill. Look for Huck and Ulrig to set the pace on offense, and for Pierce to be between the pipes.
"This will be a rebuilding year for us," Morris said. "But we have very talented junior and sophomore classes."
All of the boys' preseason scrimmage are scheduled on the road, at Circleville at 7 p.m. Thursday; at West Muskingum at 2 p.m. Saturday; and at Philo at 7 p.m., Aug. 14. At 6 p.m., Aug. 18, the alumni match will be held at the Devola field.
Marietta is also slated to be away for its season and ECOL opener at Dover at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 28. The Tigers' home opener will be against Athens at 7 p.m., Sept. 1.
The Jeff Price-coached MHS girls are also scheduled to play their season and home opener versus Dover on the same day and time - on the new pitch.
Last season, the Lady Tiger booters were 6-9-2 overall and 2-4-1 in the ECOL. From that team, Price lost some good ones to graduation in Paige Grosel, a first-team All-ECOL pick, Alex Depue, and Bree Seevers.
The Marietta returnees will include defender/midfielder Alyssa Hill, a 2011 second team All-ECOL honoree, and scorer Katie Miller, an honorable mention all-league selection.
Price has requested that any Marietta High girls interested in trying out for the orange and black team is welcome to do so today, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.