With the loss of 13 seniors off its roster, the Warren boy's soccer team will be full of youth but not necessarily inexperience in 2012.
"We had a really strong JV team last year," said Warriors' head coach Andrew Johnson. "We had some of the younger kids get some playing time. Aaron Mazurkiewicz started every game as a freshman last year, so we've got guys with experience. I think our problem could be developing chemistry."
Among the 13 players lost to graduation were All-SEOAL selections Derek Schwendeman, Daniel Rohr, Sam Arnold and Ethan Ida. Led by these players, the team finished 16-1-2 and made it to the regional semi-finals last season.
Times file photo
Warren’s Nick Koch (7), the 2011 Southeastern Ohio Athletic League MVP, is back for another season on the Warrior pitch.
"I don't know if we can repeat what we did last year, but we will definitely compete," said Johnson, entering his second year as the Warriors head coach. "Making it to regionals was a big step and a big deal for us. We're a different team this year, but we will be tough."
Returning is 2011 SEOAL Player of the Year Nick Koch, a senior. Along with Koch, senior Evan Yabs and Mazurkiewicz will look to lead the team to another post season run.
Johnson, a 2011 Co-SEOAL Coach of the Year, thinks the team will have a good chance.
"We're gonna be young, but we're gonna compete," Johnson said. "Our defense should be strong. The key will be consistency."
The team has been conditioning and working hard throughout the summer, and will begin official practices Aug. 6.
On the girls' side, the Lady Warriors lose nine seniors from last year's 11-7 squad, but are returning a lot of experience to the soccer pitch.
Seniors' Addie Barnes, Melissa Dickerson, Jordanna Rauch, and Mackenzie Ullman all have varsity experience. Junior Raelyn Gardner is a two-year starter and will return at the striker position.
Dickerson has developed into one of the top players in the area, earning All-SEOAL honors last season. Ullman, also an All-SEOAL honoree, and Barnes are expected to provide a lot of offensive production.
One of the team's biggest losses to graduation is defender/midfielder Lauren Mazurkiewicz, a three-time All-SEOAL selection.
The Marietta boys team will be playing on a brand new field this season, and will feature many brand new faces.
"This will be a rebuilding year for us," said head coach Todd Morris. "But we have very talented junior and sophomore classes."
Part of that junior class will be Brennan Uhrig, Brent Huck, and Eric Pierce. Uhrig was picked to the first team All-ECOL squad in 2011, while Huck was a second team selection. Pierce will likely be the goal keeper.
Gone from the 2011 team is second team All-Ohio selection Tim Grosel, along with All-District selections Cole Hamilton, Jacob Hupp, Steven Stollar, and Matthew Roberts.
For the first time since 1991, the Tigers will be playing on a new pitch, which is something Morris thinks will be very beneficial.
"This will be good," Morris said. "Having a flat surface is going to be a big help. We've eliminated the bumps and patches. This only gonna help us. It's something the program is pretty proud of."
A year ago the Tigers finished 12-4-2 overall and 6-0-1 in the ECOL. The team has open-field practices throughout the summer, and began conditioning at the beginning of July.
For the Marietta girls, the Lady Tigers are looking to improve from a 2-4-1 league record in 2011.
It won't be an easy task, as the team is losing arguably its best player in Paige Grosel, a first team All-ECOL selection last season. Also gone is the experienced Alex Depue.
The top returners for Jeff Price's squad will be senior Alyssa Hill, a second team All-ECOL selection last year, and Katie Miller, an honorable mention All-ECOL pick.