Maryville soccer continued its winning ways in the first round of the Excelsior Springs tournament Monday. The Spoofhounds (5-1, 2-0 MEC) streaked to their fourth straight win, defeating Odessa by a score of 3-1.
The Spoofhounds fared well, playing their second consecutive game in frigid conditions, the last victory in a 4-2 win over Bishop LeBlond April 6. Regardless, Maryville has dominated opponents every step of the way over the course of its winning streak.
“It’s great to get results from all the hard work we put in,” sophomore Morgan Pettlon said. “It’s fun to see the growth and improvement throughout the team.”
The Spoofhounds have outscored opponents 25-3 in their last four games, shutting the opposing team out twice over that stretch. Save for an uncharacteristic 9-0 loss at the hands of Grain Valley, Maryville has allowed just three goals all season, while scoring 29.
In part, the high-scoring offense is just a byproduct of a brand of soccer that coach Dale Reuter calls ‘Maryville ball,’ a system focused on smart passing and ball control. The focus on Reuter’s game design has paid off in dividends for the Spoofhounds.
In the match against Odessa, Maryville struggled to execute the game plan at times in the first half, and entered the break tied at one.
“We started off kind of slow,” Reuter said. “We weren’t putting together any passes, kind of like what we’ve been doing all year long, not doing what we need to do on the field right away.”
Starting slow has seemed to become a reoccuring theme for Maryville over the course of the season, often entering halftime tied or still within striking distance of its opponent. The second half tends to follow a starkly different script.
“After a while, we settled down,” Reuter said in reference to the game against Odessa. “(During) halftime, we reorganized and went back at it. I was really pleased with the second half performance.”
The Spoofhounds scored two unanswered goals in the second half, manufacturing close to a dozen shots on goal. While the difference in the score was only two, it easily could have been higher for Maryville, and should have been at least three.
In the final few seconds of the game, Pettlon took one final shot with the clock winding down. The ball soared from Pettlon’s position, near the 15-yard line, and found its way into the goal.
The final buzzer rang while the ball was in the air, but the referees ruled that the goal was null.
“I know the ref called it off, but that last shot by Morgan (Pettlon) was beautiful,” Reuter said. “It was before the time (expired), and should go on the board, but that’s OK, those things go that way.”
In some ways, the game represented on a smaller scale what Maryville hopes its season will shape up to be. After a slightly shaky start, going 1-1 in their first two games, the Spoofhounds have rebounded strongly, and will look to finish the season in a similar manner.
Pettlon said that the key to continued success for Maryville would lie in preparation.
“Staying focused and positive on and off the field (is important),” Pettlon said. “Trying to improve and reduce errors, controlling the ball in the game; just playing Maryville soccer.”
Following the conclusion of the Excelsior Springs tournament, Maryville will begin play in the Hannibal tournament April 13 against Rosati-Kain high school.