While Marietta High sophomore Paige Grosel is a very talented defender at the sweeper position on the pitch, she's also a lethal offensive weapon, especially on a set piece.
The vast majority of soccer players do the throw-in from the sideline in a standing position.
But Grosel does it in a front body flip, and gets a lot of steam on the ball when she releases it into play.
Times file photo
Marietta High sophomore Paige Grosel gets ready to do a body flip throw-in a girls’ soccer match last season. In the Tigers’ 6-2 win over visiting Zanesville Tuesday night, she had two assists off this set piece.
If you've never seen her do it, you might want to check out the MHS Tiger varsity booters when they host West Muskingum High in a non-conference match at the Marietta Soccer Complex in Devola at 7 p.m. (approximately) Saturday.
So, just how does Grosel do it?
"I put the ball on the ground with my hands on it, and I just do a front handspring over it coming from behind my head and throw it in," said Grosel after Marietta defeated the visiting Zanesville Blue Devils, 6-2, in a season- and home-opening game Tuesday night.
"The front handspring kind of propels it pretty hard."
As to how Grosel got started on it....
"Austin Price was my trainer for one of my Storm teams," she said, "and he knew I did gymnastics."
Price, the son of MHS head girls' soccer coach Jeff Price, played prep boys soccer at Marietta and collegiately at Transylvania University in Kentucky.
"So, he asked me if I'd ever seen it before," Grosel continued. "He said I should try it. I did it in my backyard a couple of times, and finally I got the hang of it.
"It took me a little bit, but...it took me a couple of years to make it good, and I finally got it."
Grosel and the Tigers, of course, continue to work on the sideline set piece in practice - to polish it and keep sharp.
"We do a couple during practice," Grosel said, "and during the offseason, I try to go to the Marietta College gym, and I try to do a couple of indoor ones to keep it going."
About midway through the first half of Marietta's 2009 opener, Grosel front body flipped the ball to orange and black teammate Mary Beth Schramm, who put the finishing touch on it for a goal.
Just before the break, the two MHS players hooked up again with Schramm heading home Grosel's throw-in.
"It's definitely an advantage in any game, the flip throw-in," said Schramm, who had three first-half goals in the match. "It's really great."
Fact is, Grosel's body flip throw-in has to rank right up there with the bicycle and scissor kicks as far as exciting things to watch on the pitch. And, unlike the kicks, there's more control with the throw-in.
Opposing coaches have to grimmace when they see it coming.
"It's hard to defend," said Zanesville coach Todd Riley. "It took us awhile to adjust to that."
Grosel - who, along with getting two spectacular assists, also had a non-goalie save in the Zanesville match - modestly put it all into perspective.
"The whole team had a real good game," she said. "It's a good way to start the season."
Grosel, incidentally, is also a standout pole vaulter on the Marietta High track and field team.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org