Prep soccer: Marietta, Warren square off tonight

Warren and Marietta have been stuck on a 2-1 score in its last two meetings on the boys’ soccer pitch.

Prevailing both times, the two-time defending district champion Warriors (10-2-1) are hoping that trend continues when they host the Todd Morris-coached Tigers (11-2-2) tonight at 7 p.m.

“This is going to be a close game,” said third-year Warren boss Andrew Johnson. “Marietta is a senior-loaded team, and we always have close games.”

Said Morris, “We are of course looking forward to it. We remember what happened at our place back in August, and we feel we are a much better team than we were then. I am sure Andrew feels the same way about his group, and I expect this to be a typical Marietta/Warren soccer match.”

Also on tap this evening at the same time at the Devola Soccer Complex, the Jeff Price-coached MHS girls will be seeking to avenge an early-season 5-2 setback to the Ekrem Eksi-led Lady Warriors (11-2-1).

“It’s always a good game when we play Marietta,” Eksi said. “There’s always a lot of intensity.”

If the Marietta boys, who own the all-time series advantage against Warren with a 45-12-6 record but have only won twice in the last eight matches (2-5-1), are to be successful, they will need to slow down Warrior striker Alex Miller. The senior royal blue and white booter has 26 goals on the season, including one against the Tigers in the Aug. 22 game at the DSC.

Also scoring what proved to be the match winner in that contest was Nathan Robinson.

Warren keeper Tyler Schewendeman was credited with eight saves.

Some other Warriors to keep an eye on will be Wyatt Lynch, Aaron Mazurkiewicz, Seth Hall and Ben Koch.

Marietta will be countering with All-Ohio honoree Brent Huck and fellow seniors’ Jacob Holdren (8 goals, 15 assists), Clay Mason, Tanner Rake, Skylar Miracle (7 goals, 7 assists), Eric Pierce (6 clean sheets, 95 saves), Tanner Rake, and Brennan Uhrig.

Ryan Teer has eight goals and five assists.

Marietta is coming off an 8-1 triumph over River View on Saturday. Max Suckel (17 goals, 2 assists) and Ben Dehmlow (5 goals, 2 assists) each had two goals, while Zach LaBarre, Holdren, Miracle, and Huck added one apiece.

“We have a great deal of respect for the Warren program and what they have been able to accomplish the last few years,” Morris said. “For ourselves, we have been playing very well over the last few weeks, and this team is really starting to play to the level and to the potential that we believed they could play at. We had a great week last week with the win over Zanesville and the tie at Medina, so we are playing with a lot of confidence right now. If we can control the midfield and dictate the tempo and pace of the game, we will be successful.”

Said Johnson of tonight’s matchup, “It will be a great test before sectionals.”

On the girls’ side, Warren has a one-two scoring punch in sophomore midfielder Raeli Barnes and senior striker Raelyn Gardner. In the first meeting against MHS, Gardner had a hat trick, and Barnes added two goals.

Warren is coming off an 8-0 triumph at Alexander last Thursday. Barnes led the way with four goal, while Haylee McPherson, Natalie O’Dell, Lara Eksi, and Gardner each tallied one.

Marietta’s principal offensive threat has been Katie Miller, who had one goal against the Lady Warriors in the first match. Audrey May had the other score.

Nora Gulick is expected to be the Lady Tigers’ goalkeeper.

The MHS girls were 3-12 after Saturday’s 2-0 loss at River View.

“It’s my understanding that Marietta has improved since we last played them,” Ekrem Eksi said. “They led Parkersburg South before finally losing (3-1). It’s going to be a good game.”

NOTES: In the South East District D2 boys bracket, Warren is the top seed, and Marietta is No. 2. The Tigers are scheduled to open tournament play against visiting South Point Tuesday, October 15 at 7 p.m….The Warren boys will be hosting the Gallia Academy/Northwest winner Oct. 15 at 5 p.m….Warren and Marietta have combined to win six of the last seven South East District boys championships…The Warren girls are slated to kick off SE District D2 tourney play against the winner of the Chillicothe/Athens game on Oct. 17 at 5 p.m.