DEVOLA - Warren's boys' soccer team capitalized on second chances.
The two-time defending district champion Warriors (2-0-0) scored two putback goals en route to a 2-1 triumph over host Marietta High (0-1-0) in a non-conference match at the Devola Soccer Complex Thursday night.
Alex Miller and Nathan Robinson each had a second-half score for the royal blue and white booters, while keeper Tyler Schwendeman was credited with eight saves.
RON JOHNSTON The Marietta Time
Warren players line up before the playing of the national anthem during the pregame of Thurday evening’s match between the Warriors and Marietta at the Devola Soccer Complex. Warren won 2-1.
Marietta's lone goal was by Max Suckel, an exchange student from Chile, South America. Eric Pierce had five saves between the pipes.
"When Marietta and Warren play, it's kind of like a sectional final or district game," said third-year Warren head coach Andrew Johnson, whose Warriors defeated the Tigers 2-1 in overtime in last year's sectional championship match in Vincent. "I mean, everyone left their thing on the field here."
While Marietta owns the all-time series advantage, Warren has captured five of the last eight games.
Warren 2, Marietta 1
Warren 0 2 - 2
Marietta 0 1 - 1
W: Alex Miller (4), unassisted, 46th minute
W: Nathan Robinson (1), unassisted, 60th minute
M: Max Suckel (1), unassisted, 67th minute
Shots: M 10, W 6
Keeper saves: M (Eric Pierce) 5, W (Tyler Schwendeman) 8
JV: Marietta 1, Warren 0
Next matches: Dover at MHS Tuesday; Warren at Hillsboro Saturday
"Give Warren credit for finishing and coming here and getting the win," said veteran MHS head coach Todd Morris.
Warren and Marietta were even-steven in the first half with each team playing solid defense. The Warriors' back four featured Wyatt Lynch, Kendrick Hendrix, Hayden Smith and Aaron Mazurkiewicz, while the orange and black countered with Brennan Uhrig, Tanner Rake, Clay Mason, and Andrew Roberts.
Warren's Michael Ocallaghan and Seth Hall each had a couple of shots on the frame, but Pierce was able to make saves. Marietta's Brent Huck drilled a long direct kick on target but Schwendeman made the catch.
With about seven minutes left before the half, Tiger senior Jacob Holdren booted a ball off the Warren left post.
"We were unlucky," Morris said.
At halftime, it was 0-0.
After the break, during the 46th minute, a Marietta defender was whistled for a foul at the top of the Warren penalty box. On the ensuing direct kick, Miller blasted the ball off the Tigers' defensive wall. When the ball bounced back to him, the senior standout unloaded another shot, and this one got by Pierce into the back of the net.
"My boys got me a free kick about 20 yards out," said Miller, who has now scored four goals in his last two matches. "And, I was just ready for the deflection."
Still on the attack, Warren winger Ben Koch crossed the ball into the MHS goal mouth, where Pierce dove and batted it out. Getting the rebound, though, Robinson booted it past the Tiger goalie to give the Warriors a 2-0 advantage.
"That was a great momentum changer," said Miller of Robinson's score. "It gave us the heads up in the game."
Marietta was not finished, though, and came back to reduce the deficit to one goal with about 13 minutes remaining in the contest. Getting the goal was Suckel on a nice shot that got by Schwendeman.
"That goal was a rocket," Johnson said.
Marietta is scheduled to host Dover in an East Central Ohio League opener at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
"This is disappointing but it's a first game," said Morris of the Tigers' opener, "We were not sharp, but at times we looked pretty good.
"Hopefully we don't dwell on this and not let it define what we do this year. It's a long season."
Warren is slated to play its third straight road game this week, at Hillsboro Saturday.
"Everybody worked their butt off," said Johnson of Warren's effort against Marietta.
"I can't think of one time where we weren't attacking, running or working. Schwendeman had four big saves for us."