As the Maryville boys soccer team started their season Monday against the Cameron Dragons, past seasons’ success and state titles were not the only focusing points for coach Dale Reuter.
In the past, the Spoofhounds have been known for their speed, agility, talent and overall winning nature. This year, the focus for the group is teamwork.
“We don't think too highly of ourselves, and we work as a team,” Reuter said. “It's hard work. It's nothing easy. Nobody's perfect and we build off of that. I think the reason for our success is we talk about team all the time. We do everything in a team manner.”
With the first game of the season being a starting point for how the season may go, Monday’s game included breaking records and the Spoofhounds first win of the season. As the ‘Hounds took the field, senior Jaden Hayes had no inclination that he would be breaking a record that night.
Hayes not only broke the school record for goals in a single game, previously set at 8, he went on to break the MSHAA record and set the mark at 10. Hayes’ record added to the team's final score to end the game by mercy rule. While Hayes is a starting midfielder for the team, other additions to the team help to make it as successful as it has become.
“Jaden works hard. I don't know if I’ve ever had a player work as hard as he has at his craft. … Jacob Farris on the outside did a great job last year for us. I look for great things from him,” Reuter said. “James Distefano, Thomas’ younger brother, is a sophomore this year and did get one in there. Just his tenacity going up front like that and that's what you have to do in that position.”
Although Maryville has had prosperous past seasons, losing key players like Will Mattock, Thomas Distefano and Zach Staples within the last few years has had a major impact on their overall performance and formations.
While players like Farris, Hayes and Distefano help with the consistency of the team and their winning record, other players like Justin Staples, Jaxon Pettlon and Quinn Pettlon are also key to keeping the team on track. With fast forwards, mindful midfielders and a strong defensive line along with numerous goalies, the ‘Hounds sees this season as a chance to show their talents and highlight every one of their players.
“We have 22 boys on the team all with a common goal of working really hard one game at a time,” Reuter said. “Then we go in the back and we have Jaxon Pettlon and Quinn Pettlon, cousins, and they’re holding that center defense for us. Hunter is in the goal this year, and I look for him to really step up.”
In its respected sport, the soccer team is one of the most winningest Maryville teams in years past. With consistent district or semifinal finishes, the team’s focus this year is to better the program for future Spoofhounds and get back to the top. As a long season is ahead, the players along with Reuter just want to focus on getting back to districts and bringing the state title back to Maryville.
“Our goal is always to make it to the postseason and to do that we have to make it past districts,” Reuter said. “Districts are not going to be easy this year. We got Chillicothe, Savannah and Cameron in that district. … We want to take St. Pius and give St. Pius a really good game. We know that level of play is where we have to be. We come out here every day and do what we have to do to get better in that postseason.”