Marcellus Veteran Marcellus girls soccer coach Laurie Updike has spent much of preseason pushing her team's RPM. So far, it's been slow going.
"They have not been played at game speed in practice," Updike said. "I"m pushing them towards it but it's not gotten there yet, except one day. I'm still on them."
Updike won't fully admit it but perhaps a big reason for Marcellus falling short of the game speed they'll need is the Mustangs are so young and inexperienced. Only four starters return from last year Section III Class B champion and state runner-up.
Updike didn't hesitate in naming her key returnee. Senior Kathryn Busa comes back to the Marcellus midfield as the reigning OHSL Liberty division Player of the Year.
Busa, Brielle Filtch and Dani Felty arguably form Section III's best central midfied trio.
"I can't really scoff at that," Updike said. "That's a good rotation."
When they aren't scoring themselves, Busa, Filtch, and Felty are looking to get the ball to Marcellus' strikers. Jackie Epp heads an inexperienced forward group.
Until the Mustangs get up to their coaches' speed requirement, though, it will likely have to get by on defense and goalkeeping.
Faith Seely and Shannon Donahue had the cue of backs looking to contribute. Updike has plenty of players competing for spots, and it wouldn't surprise for her to come up with a pair of quality backstops.
Much is the same at goalie. Margaret Choroser leads a three-way skirmish for the starting nod, left open because Nicole Fletcher, last year's starter, is playing volleyball after it moved from a winter to fall schedule.
Updike's and Marcellus' success is deep rooted. The town's junior players dream of wearing the green and red. The level of expectation is enormous when they finally arrive.
That's the case again this year. A whole host of unproven players will try to match their predecessors penchant for championships.
"They know we're young (and) they know we're inexperienced," Updike said. "But I think they come in thinking 'I play for Marcellus now. On the varsity. And I have to get into the thinking of what Marcellus girls' varsity soccer is.'"