Spike, bump, tip and COVID-19 are all words to describe the new season for Maryville volleyball.
The Spoofhounds are coming off a season where they eventually finished 27-8-1 after falling to Pleasant Hill in the first round of the MSHSAA Class 3 State Tournament. The regular season efforts were good enough for an MEC championship, along with being awarded the No. 1 seed in their district, which they went on to win.
Second-year coach Miranda Mizera, a former Northwest volleyball player, is hoping to lead the team to the same accolades the program reached last season — and then some.
“We know what we saw last year and we just need to repeat our efforts,” Mizera said.
The Spoofhounds have a senior class consisting of nine girls, along with many other returners to their lineup. Some key players returning are outside hitter Serena Sendell, who is currently committed to Kansas State for basketball, setter Macy Loe, libero Klarysa Stolte and middle hitter Kelsey Scott.
“We have a strong senior class returning,” Mizera said. “Our focus is to control what is at hand and take it one match at a time.”
Big things are on the line for this team, as the possibility of a season occurring was left hanging in the balance due to coronavirus mitigation efforts. With the return of standout player Serena Sendell, eyes will be on her to continue her dominance at the net.
Despite the uncertainty revolving around the season, Foster said the team continued to prepare as if it were a normal year.
“The girls have prepared the past few weeks for what is ahead of them,” Mizera said. “They know what they need to focus on individually and as a team.”
The Spoofhounds look toward relying on having both a strong defense and offense this season. In a season that's as unprecedented as this one, returning cornerstone players to the program perhaps give Maryville an advantage over other schools that lost players due to graduation and whatnot.
MSHSAA released a full schedule for fall sports in hopes that there would be little-to-no interruptions due to COVID-19. That plan so far, at least for Maryville, has been spoiled. Sophomore Rylee Vierthaler missed the first game, and possibly more than that due to COVID-19, the team learned two hours before the start of the season.
“We are going to control what we can control and prepare for this season,” Mizera said. “We want to repeat our efforts from last season.”
The schedule change and shortened season for the Spoofhounds was put in place to try and keep the girls safe and keep high school sports open. Precautions are being taken to provide a safe environment for not only the players but the coaches as well.
Following their sweep of Benton to start the season, the Spoofhounds will take on East Buchanan Sept. 3 for their first road contest of the season.