As the 2017 Class 3 District 16 championship rematch hit the courts, the atmosphere swayed a different tune.
The youthful Spoofhound volleyball team faced off against the defending champions, St. Joseph Benton, giving them the best lesson they could learn early in the season.
Maryville took to the court Aug. 3 in hopes of getting revenge on Benton for sending them home early last year in the postseason. The Spoofhounds fell in last season’s district championship to the Cardinals 2-1, after Maryville swept the regular season series.
Benton started strong with an early rally in the first set and was able to secure the win 25-23. The second set was a little different, with Maryville starting strong leading 11-4, but the outcome was doomed to be repeated as the Cardinals came back to win the set 25-23 and the match 2-0.
This match was not used for the result, but for the experience it gave the Spoofhounds.
“I told the girls they played a great game, I told them every team loses,” coach Marissa Felt said. “We have a lot to learn from this, (our) serving was a little bit rough, just consistency is what we need to work on from that.”
The Spoofhounds have been helped in their growth by their two senior leaders, Vanessa Klotz and Caroline Morley. The two are focal points of the team with their words and how they carry themselves.
“Our seniors every single time they came in or came out I just said, ‘Keep talking’ and that’s what they did,” Felt said. “Vanessa (Klotz): you don’t have to tell her, she is a leader, she steps up when someone needs her. Caroline (Morley): she didn’t play last year, and she just gets thrown in a game and can handle it, you can’t ask anymore than that.”
As Maryville grows, they know they need a little bit of pain to truly hit that growth spurt. Facing one of the toughest opponents on their schedule early gives that opportunity.
“I told them last week Benton is going to be a tough game, so everyone get ready to play,” Felt said. “When they stepped on the court they had a whole new face than last weekend, and that’s what we talked about coming into this week.”
One of the younger Spoofhounds that holds a leadership role on the team is sophomore Serena Sundell. Sundell boosts team morale daily with presence up front and shows why she is an important asset to this youthful core.
“It’s definitely good to see early in the season (facing against Benton),” Sundell said. “We can focus on other games and see what they are not as good at, so seeing them in the third game is really good for us.”
Now, with one of the hardest games on the schedule already under their belt, the Spoofhounds are geared up to take the remainder of the season by storm.
“I really don’t think anyone should be down about this game,” Felt said. “I think it was a good learning experience for them, especially losing to them last year in the district game. We all know Benton could win three this year and we could beat them in the district game, so you never know.”