By Ron Johnston
The Marietta Times
CALDWELL - Caldwell High is expecting to field a veteran co-ed soccer team on the pitch this upcoming season.
The Redskins will be returning nine starters from last year's 8-8 squad.
"We lost only two seniors," said sixth-year CHS head coach Troy Nething. "And, overall we're hoping to have 17 kids - boys and girls - on the practice field this week. The first of our 10 contact days this summer was Tuesday (July 15)."
Midfielder Marissa Radcliff and marking back Blane Dunlap were the two players who graduated this past spring.
"Both were starters and will be hard to replace," Nething said. "Blane was a solid defender, and we're really going to miss Marissa, who took our corner kicks for us. She could really bend a kick like (David) Beckham into the goal."
Radcliff will be attending Rio Grande University this fall.
Among the returning starters are three seniors, four juniors and two sophomores. Senior striker Toby Smith led the Skins in scoring last season with "15 or 16 goals," Nething said.
"Toby had a couple of hat tricks for us last season," the Caldwell boss added.
The other CHS seniors are defenders' Nick Roberts and Cole Rucker. Roberts may also serve as a backup goalkeeper, while Rucker can also play the midfield.
The junior class will be featuring goalie Chase Lucas, mid Halle Sanford, defender Jarett Ackley, and defender Kyle Tanner.
"Chase was our starting keeper last season," Nething said, "and he's not afraid of contact."
Caldwell appears to have depth between the pipes as Tanner and sophomore Noah Nething (the coach's son) could also be positioned there. The younger Nething, though, is expected to be a either a striker or offensive mid.
Tyler Leonhart, another soph, was a starting mid last fall.
Some of the other candidates looking to break into the starting lineup will be senior Daniel Leasure, sophomore Logan Archer, and freshmen Chase Stephens and Levi Pemberton.
"We're hoping to be better than a .500 team this season," Troy Nething said. "I'm really looking forward to getting started."
Nething will be assisted by Kraig Robinson this upcoming fall.
Notes: The Caldwell soccer program has been in existence for six seasons...The Redskins, who compete at the Ohio Division III level, practice and play their matches behind the City Building...The Skins' best season was a 9-6 posting in 2011 when Troy Nething's oldest son Trey was a junior. Trey Nething, the soccer program's all-time leading scorer, is now competing on the pitch as a sophomore at Muskingum University after transferring there from Lake Erie College in Painesville...Caldwell is a member of both the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference (OVAC) and Pioneer Valley Conference (PVC)...Last Christmas, Troy Nething received a present from his family, season tickets to the Columbus Crew games. He's planning to be there this Saturday when they play Montreal.