DEVOLA - Marietta High's boys' and girls' soccer teams were on the practice pitches at the Devola Soccer Complex Monday evening.
"The first day of practice is pretty exciting," said MHS junior Brent Huck. "We'll probably get two hours in of a little bit of running and a little bit of ball work.
"Marietta is known for being in shape and being able to outrun teams at the end of the game. We've got some good people coming up, and we've been working hard. So, if we keep working hard, it's just going to make us better players and a better team."
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Times
Some Marietta High boys’ soccer team players go through a ball drill at the Devola Soccer Complex Monday evening.
Brennan Uhrig was very happy to be able to be on the practice pitch after a week on the sideline.
"I got injured during a tournament (at Strongsville) about a week ago," Uhrig said. "I had a concussion, but I'm good and back now after taking a week off.
"We've been running a lot to get in shape. I played club all through the season. We're pretty well prepared, I think."
At 7 p.m. Thursday, MHS boys' head coach Todd Morris will be able to gauge better the personnel on his orange and black team when it scrimmages host Circleville. He said 28 players were out for the varsity and junior varsity squads.
As it looks right now, MHS - the defending East Central Ohio League champion with an 11-4-2 overall record (6-0-1 ECOL) - has four seniors on its 2012 roster in Colin Jordan (2 goals, 1 assist), Holden Weihl, Bresdon Treadway and Matt Chalfant.
Also returning from last season are juniors' Uhrig (10 goals, 5 assists), Huck (8 goals, 3 assists), Tanner Rake (2 goals, 2 assists), Skylar Miracle (2 goals), Jacob Holdren (1 goal), and Eric Pierce, who is projected to be the starting goalkeeper.
Sophomore defender Andrew Roberts, a starter as a frosh, is also back.
"The pieces are there," Morris said. "We as coaches just need to figure out where they best fit."
After Circleville, Marietta is slated to scrimmage at West Muskingum (Aug. 11) and at Philo (Aug. 14). The Tigers' alumni match will be on Aug. 18.
"We will be competitive, no doubt," Morris said. "The goal never changes - come together as a team, compete as a team and be better in October/November than we are now.
"Obviously internally we have other goals - repeat as ECOL champions and get back to where we feel we need to be at the district level."
After claiming three of the last four district titles (2007, 2009 and 2010), Marietta bowed out early in the postseason last year, dropping a 2-1 sectional final decision to Waverly at Don Drumm Stadium. From that 2011 squad, seven MHS Tigers graduated.
On the Marietta girls' side, head coach Jeff Price greeted 12 young ladies, including standouts Alyssa Hill and Katie Miller, on the first official day of practice. He says there are 19 on the current roster, but is hoping more girls will come out for the team on Wednesday and Thursday at 6 p.m.
For more information, call Price at 525-2975 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Later this month, the Marietta girls are scheduled to scrimmage at Zane Trace on a day and time to be announced.
Last season, the MHS Lady Tiger booters posted a 6-9-2 overall record (2-4-1 ECOL).