Jeff Price naturally wants to win on the pitch, but he also has another objective.
"I'm here to make sure that the girls are having fun," said the veteran Marietta High girls' soccer coach. "And I want them to enjoy the experience of playing soccer.
"I'm still trying to get more girls to come out for the team, and we'll just build on that."
JORDAN HOLLAND The Marietta Times
Marietta High’s Mo Robinson dribbles during a summer exhibition against Barberton at Marietta College.
What Price has on the field so far during early practices is pretty impressive.
"The numbers are good," he said. "And when it's all said and done, we could have around 30."
That 30 may include a couple of foreign exchange student/athletes from Norway and Brazil.
"We'll just have to wait and see," Price said.
Last year, the Lady Tigers, who finished 7-8-2 overall, benefitted greatly with the addition of Molly Josefson of Sweden. All Josefson did was end up scoring 21 goals and earning All-Ohio, all-district, and all-league honors.
MHS also lost to graduation Alyssa Hill, Ashly Streski, Amelia Gulick, Esther Demlow, and Anna Carpenter.
But Price has a nice core of returnees in senior Katie Miller, junior Beka Haught, sophomore Mo Robinson, and sophomore Nora Gulick.
"It's going to be an inexperienced team for the most part," the coach said. "And I'll probably end up moving a lot of girls around on the field."
Marietta's marquee players are expected to be Miller and Haught, who each was an East Central Ohio League (ECOL) and all-district honoree last fall.
Miller, an all-league selection two straight seasons, was one of the orange and black's more versatile players on the pitch. A three-year starter, she actually began the sectional tournament match against Athens as a sweeper/before being moved up to the forward line late in the match.
Always a threat to score, Miller finished with six goals
Haught proved to be a solid, all-around defender on the back line for the Lady Tigers.
Robinson, like Miller, is another all-around soccer player, who will probably be positioned at midfield or on defense. And, Gulick, with one season under her belt between the pipes, solidifies the all-important keeper position.
Some other MHS booters to keep an eye on will be sophomore Samantha Koons, junior Gabrielle Latture, sophomore Charlie Bingler, senior Sydney Stanley, junior Maddie Meyers, freshman Embrey Roberts, junior Lucinda Ryder, and junior Tanner Moss. Price said Moss is back on the pitch after a year's absence.
"The girls are working hard, and they're a good group," Price said. "I see a lot of promise."
Marietta, which will be in Ohio Division I again, is scheduled to host the Parkersburg Big Reds in a scrimmage at 6 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 14) at the Devola Soccer Complex. Then, the Lady Tiger booters will be opening up their season in earnest against visiting Maysville at 7 p.m. Aug. 20. Two days later, they'll visit Vincent to take on the Ekrem Eksi-coached Warren Lady Warriors.
Price has a volunteer assistant in Amy Mendenhall.