In a direct correlation to Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s closure of in-person schooling, MSHSAA announced the cancellation of all remaining 2019-20 postseason events April 9.
MSHSAA Executive Director Dr. Kerwin Urhahn said the decision to cancel was difficult because of the impact it held on the class of 2020.
“To our senior participants: we thank you for everything you have done for your schools and communities and wish you the very best in your bright futures,” Urhahn said in the press release. “While this is a difficult ending, the lessons you’ve learned and friendships you’ve made through high school activities will last your lifetime.”
Maryville girls soccer players made lifetime friendships long before their debuts as Spoofhounds. Many of the girls developed chemistry playing together on the hometown traveling team, the Maryville Twisters.
One of those girls is senior Addison Hall, who said it was hard to hear that she wouldn’t get the chance to play with her team one last time.
“(It’s hard) because of how close our team is,” Hall said in a phone call. “A lot of us have been playing together since fifth grade. We were traveling together; we were with each other every weekend and playing every weekend”
In team sports, chemistry is an important key to success. Senior Stephanie Ingram said being part of the Twisters is the reason why Maryville’s girls soccer team is tightly knit, which led to some of the team’s past successes.
“The chemistry between us, especially this year, has definitely played a role,” Ingram said. “I mean, we’ve all played together for so long so we know each others' habits. We don’t have to speak to know what the other one is going to do next, and when we get upset with each other, we know not to take it to heart.”
The soccer team received word about the season’s cancellation via group chat with coach Dale Reuter. Although some were expecting it, the news came as a complete surprise to others. Senior Morgan Pettlon and her father shared a sense of astonishment when the notification crossed her phone.
“I guess I was in denial for a little bit,” Pettlon said over the phone. “It hit me a couple days later that I’m never going to get that closure to my high school career.”
For Pettlon, this might’ve been her last high school season, but it doesn’t mean her soccer career is over. She will be attending Missouri Southern to play soccer and looks forward to returning to play against Northwest at Bearcat Pitch.
“It’s amazing playing for your hometown team with your best friends,” Pettlon said. “I’ll still be able to come up to Maryville to play the Bearcats, but it’s going to be different. It’s still going to be my hometown with my friends and family, but it’s going to be different playing against my hometown.”
Ingram and Hall will not have the same opportunity to continue athletics like their teammate. Ingram will be attending Northwest with intent to try out for the Bearcats, but was told that the team isn’t looking for new players. She could only describe the end of her soccer career as devastating.
Hall will be attending the University of Missouri-Columbia to study health sciences. After talking the decision over with her mother, Hall decided that it wasn’t in her best interest to pursue a collegiate athletic career.
“Yes, it would be fun, but it wouldn’t replace what I’m missing this year,” Hall said.
MSHSAA may not have chosen if athletes left their sport for good, but it did choose the manner in which they left it. This decision left seniors across Missouri with lingering what ifs and Maryville girls soccer perhaps has the biggest what if in the area.
“I was still hoping that we’d come back to school or they’d let us play even if we weren’t at school,” Ingram said. “Even though (the cancellation) is understandable, it was definitely disappointing, especially with the talk of state in the air.”
Maryville girls soccer class of 2020 had a record of 40-28-1, which included three Class 2 District 16 Championships. In 2019, the ’Hounds made it as far as the Class 2 State Tournament Quarterfinals before being edged out by Pembroke Hill.
Each of the three girls shared how much they’ll miss playing on the same team as their best friends, the girls they’ve grown up with. As these seniors move on from Maryville, they will leave never knowing how far this season could’ve gone, rather where it never even began.
There’s a vague opportunity for a summer season, with MSHSAA still undecided on what that might look like. However, the ’Hounds are operating as if the season won’t happen at all.