Zach Hill and Matt Morrison each got some kicks in even though Monday's first official day of practice at the Marietta Soccer Complex in Devola was cancelled due to thunder and lightning.
The two Marietta High boys' soccer players and 2008 All-SEOAL honorees were on the pitch at about 5:30 p.m.
Practice was scheduled from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
"I had to drop my sister (Alyssa) off for practice," said Hill, who scored 14 goals to lead the Tigers in that offensive category last season.
On an adjacent soccer field at the Complex at 5:30 p.m., the Jeff Price-coached MHS girls' soccer team was going through drills and conditioning - for the second time that day. Its first practice actually was from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Two-a-days were not on the Todd Morris-coached boys' team's slate, but there they were - Hill and Morrison - booting long set-piece kicks of about 25 yards in the direction of an unmanned goal frame an hour and a half before practice was scheduled to start.
They didn't have to be there at that hour.
Very impressive. Coaches like that.
Thing is, Hill and Morrison had a very active summer on the pitch. Both played on the U-17 River Soccer Club (RVSC) team, which captured the state cup in its age division in Beckley, W.Va. Tiger teammates' Keith Schwendeman and Chris Stollar were also members of that squad. This foursome and the rest of the MHS boys team also competed in a July preseason soccer tournament at Cooper Park in Westerville (near Columbus). There, the Tigers were unbeaten with a 3-0-1 record.
"We did a lot of work and a lot of running this summer - and played soccer," Hill said. "Pretty much, that was it."
Between 6 p.m. and 6:45 p.m., the remainder of the MHS boys' soccer team arrived at the soccer complex, about 35 in all. When greeted by thunder and lightning, they were instructed by Morris and his assistant Bob Morrison to remain in their cars.
Meanwhile, over on the girls' practice pitch, Price was leading his team off for cover. Practice was over - earlier than planned.
Last week, Morris and Morrison were first-hand witnesses to a lightning strike on one of the far pitches, near the tree line, at the soccer complex.
"That was something," Morris said. "I've never seen anything like that before."
Fortunately, nobody was on the field at the time.
At about 7 p.m. Monday, after a few more rumbles of thunder, Morris called off practice. The MHS boys' booters would try again Tuesday.
At least, by being there earlier, Matt Morrison and Hill were able to work up a little sweat.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org