After suffering its first defeat of the young 2019 season, Maryville girls soccer has put the right foot forward into finding its true identity before heading into the heart of the Midland Empire Conference season.
Coming into the matchup with Council Bluffs-Abraham Lincoln (1-0) April 1, the Spoofhounds (2-1) hadn’t received much of a test in their first two games, combining to outscore their opponents 9-1.
Traditionally, Maryville likes to test itself early on in the schedule to find key strengths and weaknesses that can prove vital to being successful in the long run. This was the case when scheduling the Lynx from Abraham Lincoln.
A year ago, the Lynx were a participant in the ISHAA Class 3A girls soccer tournament, the largest competitive soccer class in the state of Iowa.
“We just want to work hard and not find ourselves in a false sense of security or a false sense of who we are in our identity,” coach Dale Reuter said. “So when you bring a team in like this and they show us that really quick, it humbles us really well. … I’ll take a 3-to-6 final score against a big team out of Omaha.”
Through the opening nine minutes of the contest, the Spoofhounds and Lynx each took turns sending the ball onto the opposite sides of the field. The scoreless stalemate broke after Crystena Keesee scored for Abraham Lincoln with 31 minutes to give the Lynx the early 1-0 advantage.
Just 32 seconds following its first goal, a defensive miscue made by Maryville allowed Abraham Lincoln to score its second goal of the game to bring the lead to 2-0. The Lynx would go on to score two more before the halftime buzzer sounded, taking a commanding 4-0 advantage over the Spoofhounds into the locker room.
“Coming into the game, we didn’t really know what to expect, at all,” junior forward Morgan Pettlon said. “Coming out of halftime, we just needed to be talking together and working together as a team to get that ball moving forward.”
Just five minutes into the second half, the Spoofhounds found the back of the net, scoring their first goal of the afternoon. The goal was attributed to Pettlon, who scored from just inside 30 feet.
Just moments after her first, Pettlon scored her second goal of the game to bring the Abraham Lincoln lead to just 4-2 with 34 minutes left to play. However, the Lynx stepped on the gas pedal following the Spoofhound attempt at a comeback and scored two more of their own, increasing the lead back to four goals over Maryville, 6-2.
With 10 minutes left to play in the game, freshman midfielder Cleo Johnson scored for Maryville and recorded her first goal of the young season, bringing the score to 6-3. This would ultimately be the final score of the match.
Rueter and his staff have spoken highly of Johnson during the preseason and have looked forward to seeing her talents being carried out on the soccer field.
“She plays a very important spot for us in our plan and how we play and in our lineup,” Reuter said. “We like to see that confidence from her as she plays that center-mid position and are looking forward to moving on.”
Johnson is one of only two freshman that have made the starting lineup for Maryville this season.