With less than a week until its first postseason matchup, Maryville boys soccer is preparing to battle a MEC foe, and district opponent, in Savannah.
The Spoofhounds (9-9) have faced Savannah (4-12) twice this season, resulting in a 5-2 win and a 2-1 win in overtime for Maryville. Like any other program, both squads have had their fair share of competition and tough battles this year.
With the two teams being less than 30 miles apart, the Highway 71 title and bragging rights are on the line. Along with the Highway 71 trophy, a date with the MSHSAA Class 2 District 16 Championship is on the line when the programs face off Nov. 4 at Chillicothe High School.
“It's a rival school,” coach Dale Reuter said. “It's great anytime you get a win over a rival school. These boys play summer ball together; they probably go on dates together with their girlfriends, as far as I know. It's good to have that, and you get those bragging rights. Hopefully, we'll have that edge going into districts in a must-win game to get into the district final.”
Maryville is 3-1 in postseason play against the Savages since 2009. This, along with the fact that the Spoofhounds boast an 18-6 record against Savannah since the turn of the decade, gives the Spoofhounds the historical advantage. Even though both of this season's matchups were highly competitive games, the ’Hounds used that adrenaline to be the foundation and drive for their next meeting with the Savages.
“The last time we played them, it was a pretty close game, and nobody was really expecting it to turn out like that,” senior defender Jaxon Pettlon said. “I think the close game motivated everybody to try harder, so when we come around to districts, we should be alright.”
With the Spoofhounds battling back from a four-game losing streak to win games against Lafayette and first-round district opponent Savannah, Maryville is more than confident in its abilities ahead of the matchup.
With all of their district opponents being MEC rivals as well,, the ’Hounds have plenty of experience with what to expect from those teams in the postseason, as opposed to the regular season.
“They definitely come out with a different type of attitude,” senior midfielder Jaden Hayes said. “We’ve got a big rivalry and they want to beat us so bad, but we’re not going to let that happen this year.”
As the Spoofhounds prepare for their matchup against Savannah, the only thing on their minds is the rivalry that has been fueled by years of competition.With the possibility of beating the foe three times in a season on the line, the Spoofhounds rely on experienced players, along with history on their side, to give them an edge in the matchup.
“Confidence is definitely a big part. You always got to have confidence, but not too much confidence, or else you’ll look past the game,” Hayes said. “I think that if we just beat Savannah and take it one step at a time — we gotta win that game first, and I think everyone knows that — since we beat them twice already, we just can't look back at them.”