Marietta High's boys soccer team has had an active summer even though the season doesn't officially kick off until Aug. 1.
In June, several of the Tigers spent a week in soccer camp with Marietta College head coach (and ex-Tiger) Stephen Rose providing guidance.
This month, the orange and black booters began working out on July 5, and are scheduled to compete in the Ohio Cup preseason tournament in Columbus July 16-17.
"We'll be conditioning the whole month of July," said MHS head coach Todd Morris.
When Aug. 1 rolls around, Marietta should be in good shape and ready to go when practices start at the Devola Soccer Complex. The Tigers will be playing in their first season as a member of the East Central Ohio League, which also includes Division 1 schools Cambridge, Dover, New Philadelphia and Zanesville, and Division 2 teams Claymont, Coschocton, Meadowbrook, River View and Zanesville Bishop Rosecrans.
MHS is scheduled to kick off its season against Linsly at the Devola Soccer Complex on Saturday, Aug. 27. Then the Tigers will play Dover in their ECOL opener at home on Aug. 30.
2011 Marietta boys soccer schedule
Aug. 27: THE LINSLY SCHOOL, 5 p.m.
Aug. 30: DOVER (ECOL), 7 p.m.
Sept. 1: ALEXANDER, 7 p.m.
Sept. 3: at Athens, 5 p.m.
Sept. 6: at Cambridge (ECOL), 7 p.m.
Sept. 8: at Akron Archbishop Hoban, 7 p.m.
Sept. 10: vs. Chillicothe, at Columbus Crew Stadium, 11 a.m.
Sept. 13: COSCHOCTON (ECOL), 7 p.m.
Sept. 15: at Warren, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20: at New Philadelphia (ECOL), 7 p.m.
Sept. 27: ZANESVILLE BISHOP?ROSECRANS (ECOL), 7 p.m.
Oct. 4: ZANESVILLE (ECOL), 7 p.m.
Oct. 6: WARREN, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8: at River View (ECOL), 3 p.m.
Oct. 11: at Granville, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13: PARKERSBURG SOUTH (Senior Night), 7 p.m.
Oct. 17-Oct. 22: Sectional Tournament
Oct. 24-Oct. 29: District Tournament
Nov. 1-Nov. 5: Regional Tournament
Nov. 8-Nov. 12: State Tournament
East Central Ohio League (ECOL)
One of the highlights of the season will be on Sept. 10 when Marietta faces Chillicothe in a non-league match at Columbus Crew Stadium.
The Tigers are also slated to play Washington County rival Warren twice in non-league games.
"I'm looking forward to the 2011 season and seeing what the ECOL has in store for us," Morris said.
It should be interesting, because Marietta was the dominant boys soccer school in the Southeastern Ohio Athletic league (SEOAL), winning 15 conference crowns, including last year's.
In 2010, MHS was also a sectional and district champion and a Sweet 16 regional semifinalist. The Tigers bowed out with a 17-2-2 record after being defeated by Columbus Bishop Watterson 1-0 in double overtime at Logan High on Nov. 2.
From that Tiger team, Marietta graduated two All-State honorees in Wes Riley (21 goals, 16 assists) and Matt Morrison (13 goals, 10 assists), and several other quality players in Colten Holdren (seven clean sheets), Shawn O'Connor, Jake Archer, Dylan Schafer, and Troy Harris.
"As far as what we are looking at for 2011, we obviously lost some rare talent from last year's team," Morris said, "but we think we have a good foundation of returning players returning, and it will be up to us (the coaches) to piece things together to put another competitive team on the field. We are very confident we have the athletes and the talent to be where we want to be come late October."
Seniors' Tim Grosel and Cole Hamilton are two of Marietta's several talented athletes, and figure to provide much of the scoring punch. Last year, Grosel earned second team All-District and was All-SEAOL with 10 goals and nine assists.
Grosel, an all-around athlete, is currently playing center field for the Beverly/Lowell Post 389/750 American Legion baseball team. Hamilton was also All-SEOAL with 10 goals and 13 assists, despite being sidelined for three matches with an ankle injury.
A couple of other returning players who have a nose for the goal are sophomores' Brent Huck (6 goals, 2 assists) and Brennan Uhrig (2 goals, 1 assist).
On defense, senior Matt Roberts is back. Last season, he was part of a group that allowed only 18 goals. Then, there is senior Steven Stollar, who "can play all over the field," Morris said.
Between the pipes, senior Jacob Hupp and sophomore Eric Pierce will be vying for playing time as the keeper. Pierce is currently recovering from a broken collarbone.
"The two keepers will be evaluated during the preseason, and we'll let the chips fall where they may," Morris said.
Also competing for starting roles will be seniors' Daniel Haught and Max Rossi; juniors' Ethan Bloomingdale Hayden Weihl, Colin Jordan, and Matt Thompson; and sophomores' Tanner Rake, Jeffrey Patterson, and Skylar Miracle.
Marietta will also feature a talented freshman class.
"We were fortunate to have had a very strong freshman class last year," Morris said. "We also look to have about 8-10 freshmen this fall, which has always been the key to the success at MHS - having the feeder program (Marietta Soccer League) to develop the players and prepare them for soccer at the high school level."