With two games left during the regular season, Maryville boys soccer is starting to hone in on key aspects with hopes of bringing a district title back to Maryville.
The ’Hounds faced off against the Savannah Savages Oct. 21 in a game that would challenge both mental and physical aspects of the Spoofhounds. With the temperature dropping, and the wind taking the soccer ball with it, the setting for the contest provided less than ideal playing conditions.
Though both teams had to adapt to the weather, the Spoofhounds ultimately came out on top of a close and physical game. After their win against Savannah, a district and conference foe, coach Dale Reuter and the rest of the team are now practicing with the mindset of “survive and advance.”
“We’ve got two games left in the regular season, and then we’ve got one game in districts,” Reuter said. “Right now, we’re guaranteed three games. Beyond that, we’ve got to earn it.”
Maryville’s next matchup will be Oct. 29 against Bishop LeBlond, a non-district opponent that the Spoofhounds have faced and beaten before in MEC matchups. The season is slowly coming to a close with LeBlond standing in their way. With this comes the fact that the ’Hounds are starting to focus on capitalizing on the gaps in their opponents game and improve certain aspects of their own.
“I think how physical everybody is is what we’re going to have to adapt to the most,” senior defender Jaxon Pettlon said. “A lot of these freshmen and newcomers aren't ready for how everybody is going to be pushing them around, so they have to be ready for that.”
Maryville is one of the favorites to win their district title, but the No. 1 seed in the district is shaping up to be the Chillicothe Hornets. The Hornets will be the hardest matchup for the Spoofhounds during their district play. Even though the ’Hounds have their eyes set on that possible future game, they still have to get through the last leg of their regular season.
Reuter made it clear that no game, or team, is taken for granted. Those games, Reuter said, can help his team grow and be seen as a difficult opponent. Reuter has stated that whether a team is considered good or not is not an indicator as to how Maryville’s mindset will be entering the game. No matter who the opponent is, or what their record is, the Spoofhounds look at every game as an opportunity to grow and better the program.
“You’ve got to play those tough teams,” Reuter said. “When we take it on the chin this year and maybe next year, they learn from those things and they want to go out and get better. You’ve got to play those good teams. You can't just stay in the closet and think you're all that without getting outside in the yard and seeing how good you really are. Those teams are real tough, but we knew we had to play them.”
The Spoofhounds will only take the field once more before their first district matchup at Chillicothe High School. For many in the community, Maryville is a shoe-in for winning the district title. On the other hand, the staff believes that Maryville has a chance, but the battle may be up hill.
Although district brackets haven't been released yet, the ’Hounds plan to have all of their practices, difficult games, dedication and drive to bring their idea of winning a district title to fruition.
“I think the postseason and districts will be pretty tough because obviously we have some good opponents,” Pettlon said. “But I think we definitely can come back with a win.”