VINCENT - The Warren boys soccer roster was predominantly junior-oriented last fall.
Those Warriors are now seniors, battle-tested, and hoping for continued success on the pitch.
"It will be an interesting year," said fourth-year Warren head coach Andrew Johnson. "We have to find a mix between young and old. Chemistry is a key to success."
Times file photo
Warren’s Aaron Mazurkiewicz (15) will become a four-year starter for the Warriors when they kick off the season in August.
Since Johnson has been at the helm, the former Parkersburg Big Reds and Bluffton Beavers player has guided the royal blue and white booters to three consecutive Ohio Division II regional appearances, district championships, and Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) crowns.
During that stretch, the Warriors have posted a combined 46-8-11 overall record. Last autumn, they were 16-3-2.
It's been an outstanding run, and there's no reason not to believe that Johnson's fourth season as the Warren boss won't be any different, except for maybe getting past the regional round for the first time in the school's history. That's at least one of the team's goals.
Head coach: Andrew Johnson, 4th yr.
Aug. 14 at Philo (scrimmage) 10 a.m.
Aug. 16 MHS 7 p.m.
Aug. 19 ROSECRANS 6 p.m.
Aug. 21 at Athens 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 JACKSON 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 TEAYS VALLEY 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 4 GALLIA 7 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Alexander 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 at Logan 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 at John Glenn 1 p.m.
Sept. 18 ATHENS 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 at Jackson 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 at Gallia 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 at Belpre 11 a.m.
Oct. 2 ALEXANDER 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 at MHS 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 LOGAN 7 p.m.
Head coach: Ekrem Eksi
Aug. 10 Alumni match 7 p.m.
Aug. 12 Unioto (scrimmage) 6 p.m.
Aug. 16 at MHS 3 p.m.
Aug. 19 at Minford 5:30 p.m.
Aug. 21 ATHENS 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 28 at Jackson 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 at Teays Valley 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 at Alexander 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 11 LOGAN 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 15 LICKING?HEIGHTS 7 p.m.
Sept. 18 at Athens 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 JACKSON 7 p.m.
Sept. 25 MORGAN 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 2 ALEXANDER 5:30 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Morgan 5 p.m.
Oct. 7 MHS 7 p.m.
Oct. 9 at Logan 7 p.m.
Warren graduated only two seniors from last season's squad, and both were standouts.
Alex Miller capped his prep career as a first-team All-Ohio honoree with a whopping 40 goals. He was also the Player of the year in both the Southeast District and SEOAL.
Needless to say, that's a lot of offense to replace.
Wyatt Lynch was the other senior, and while he didn't get the ink that Miller got, it was only because his job was to mark and help keep opposing players from scoring. A 6-foot-2, 185-pound defender, he didn't go unnoticed as he was honored as a second-team district selection at the conclusion of the campaign.
"Losing those two is a big deal," Johnson said. "Both were where leaders."
Yes, both Miller and Lynch will be missed, but the returnees as they say "ain't too shabby" and include nine starters.
"We do return a lot of players who had key roles last year," Johnson said.
Aaron Mazurkiewicz, like Miller, was also a 2013 first-team district pick. An all-around athlete (He was the starting point guard on the Warriors basketball team.), he can play anywhere on the pitch, and has a nose for the goal. Never was that more evident when he scored the match-winner in the last second of regulation time in a 1-0 triumph over Chillicothe Unioto in a district semifinal at Lucasville late last October.
"Aaron (Mazurkiewicz) is a four-year starter for me and has the most experience," Johnson said.
Also back are midfielder Nate Robinson, a second-team district honoree, and mid Michael O'Callaghan and striker Seth Hall, both district honorable mention selections.
Some other Warriors to keep and eye on will be mid Ben Koch, stopper Hayden Smith, marking back Kendrick Hendrix, keeper Tyler Schwendeman, Cole Miller, Carter Magers, Andrew Spencer, and Andrew Mazurkiewicz.
"I do expect big things from Nathan (Robinson), Seth (Hall), and Ben (Koch)," Johnson said. "Our expectations are the same as they have been for the past four years I've coached which is a state title.
"This summer we are trying to make sure we are in the best shape, working hard to have great chemistry, and making sure we don't take anything for granted so we can accomplish our goal."
On the girls side, Ekrem Eksi-coached Warren, the two-time defending Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) champion, is expecting to have a nice nucleus of returning players when it kicks off its season in August.
The Lady Warriors, winners of a combined 25 matches in the last two years, will miss Raelyn Gardner's nose for the goal, Natalie O'Dell's all-around play at midfield, and Jordan Smrek's and Marissa O'Callahan's defense.
But there's no question that Warren will be fielding another talented squad on the pitch in 2014. Like last fall, the royal blue and white will once again be paced on offense by junior Raeli Barnes, an All-Ohio second teamer, a district first team honoree, and the SEOAL Player of the Year. Last season, she scored a team-high 29 goals.
Some of the other Lady Warriors who may be joining Barnes on the pitch will be junior mid Laura Eksi, senior goalkeeper Janelle Barth, junior defender Emma Yabs, junior mid Hayley McPherson, senior defender Megan Myers, sophomore Katie Rauch (currently injured), junior Rachel Grogg, senior Ashley Edgell, sophomore Ally Biehl, and junior Brittany Dobbs.