As Maryville boys soccer heads into the last two weeks of the regular season, the one thing on the Spoofhounds’ minds is the postseason. Even though they still have a few games before they get there, all of the ’Hounds’ attention will be directed towards the MSHSAA Class 2 District 16 Tournament.
For Maryville, there’s still plenty of tough competition left. Two of the biggest challenges that present themselves to the Spoofhounds are the Savannah Savages and Chillicothe Hornets.
Though the Hornets will be a tough battle for the ‘Hounds, coach Dale Reuter emphasized that no game will be looked at as easy. Going back to the basics will be the key for success heading down the home stretch of the season, Reuter said.
“I don’t look at them as easy games,” Reuter said. “I’ve been in this league too long to say that there are easy opponents. Next week, we have Savannah … Savannah is a good opponent and we’ll see them again in district play, so I won’t take this game lightly.”
The ’Hounds played host to Guadalupe Centers Charter High School Oct. 15 and then hit the road to take on St. Pius X Oct. 17. Both matches are against traditionally tough teams from the Kansas City, Missouri area.
Though neither St. Pius or Guadeloupe are opponents in Maryville’s district, there could be possible rematches if the programs were to meet deep into the postseason. Cameron (0-8), Savannah (3-8) and Chillicothe (7-7-1) are the three teams that Maryville must face and beat to have the chance to advance past the district ranks.
“It’s hard to look past those teams because you know you want to get to the postseason so bad,” senior midfielder Jaden Hayes said. “I remember my freshman year we were ranked second in the district and we looked past the third seed and we got beat the first round, so we don't want to do that again.”
The ’Hounds are looking forward to the matchup against Pius, Hayes said. A win against the Warriors would place Maryville in a tie for first place in the MEC and, Hayes said, give the Spoofhounds a confidence boost.
With eight freshmen on the roster, several of which have logged minutes or started this year, the ’Hounds are adjusting the team and outlook to prepare for potentially difficult postseason opponents.
For some programs, coupling those younger players with experienced upperclassmen like Hayes can prove to be an intriguing combination. Basic skills and drills are the aspects that Maryville plans to hone in on to battle through its district.
“We’re just going to go back to basics,” Reuter said. “That's what we’ve done four weeks ago, we started going back to the basics and working on those things that carry us through those games. These next few weeks, we all have to be on the same page. If we don't, then it's going to be a short season.”
Before the ’Hounds take their home field one more time this season, the team has taken time to reflect on the year so far. This season has given the program to rebuild and rethink its structure to ensure that the following years are even more successful than the one before.
The rebuilding factor also caused several underclassmen to come forward as leaders and be in this position for many years to come.
“Everybody knew it was going to be a rebuilding year,” Hayes said. “I think it was going to be a rebuilding year, especially losing eight seniors, so that's a big factor. I think the freshmen have stepped up and have done well and the sophomores have stepped up too."