Maryville volleyball entered its last week of the regular season with some monumental challenges facing the team.
Maryville enjoyed a two-set 25-23, 25-11 victory over conference rival Chillicothe Oct. 17 for Senior Night. Then, the Spoofhounds competed in the Lewis Central Invite Oct. 19 in Council Bluffs, Iowa, where they faced off against some of the powerhouses in Iowa high school volleyball.
The ’Hounds suffered a 21-15, 21-13 loss to Lewis Central (27-6) to start the day and fell 21-17, 21-9 to Red Oak (29-5) later in the day. Despite the losses, Maryville coach Miranda Foster and the team remained positive.
“We’re a solid team. The teams we played were solid teams, and that is going to be the preparation we need going into the postseason,” Foster said. “While it can be frustrating, and you never want to lose, I think the girls had a really good attitude after those losses.”
The Spoofhounds were tasked with their last challenge before the postseason in the final game of the regular season Oct. 22 against conference foe St. Pius X (19-5-4). The Warriors kept the first set close until junior middle hitter Serena Sundell knocked down two kills to start a four-point rally that push the Spoofhound lead to 15-9. The swing in momentum pressured St. Pius into a timeout.
St. Pius earned 6 of the first 7 points out of the timeout, eventually tying the game at 16. Maryville regathered and put together another four-point rally that pushed the ’Hounds’ lead to 20-16. The Warriors fought back to 22-21, but Sundell scored two of the last three points for the ’Hounds. Senior outside hitter Brooke Katen served an ace to end the first set at 25-22.
St. Pius X took their only lead of the match early in the second set off a kill. Sundell answered with a kill of her own to tie the game at 3-3.
The Hounds eventually took a 17-12 lead off of a three-point rally, but the Warriors made their way back once more and tied the game at 22. Sundell scored a kill and a block to help Maryville to a 24-23 lead, an errant serve into the net earned the Spoofhounds the victory.
Sundell said the victory was a good finale for the team’s regular season.
“Pius is definitely one of the best teams in our conference,” Sundell said. “So to get that win before going into the district tournament really puts a good win under our belts and gives us a little more confidence.”
Foster shared a similar reaction to the victory and is excited about the direction the team is headed in.
“I think it was an awesome morale win for us, just to come away from the regular season feeling successful because our overall record is very successful,” Foster said. “Just to take that into districts is pretty fun.”
Maryville finished the regular season with a mark of 23-6-1 and earned the No. 1 seed in the MSHSAA Class 3 District 16 tournament. The Spoofhounds will have a bye in the quarterfinals and meet the winner of Lafayette and Benton in the district semifinals.
Maryville split the four matches against Lafayette this season, losing the first two appearances before sweeping the last four sets Oct. 5 and in the Benton Tournament Oct.12. The ’Hounds have beat Benton in three matches this season and earned a tie in the fourth in the Benton Tournament. Lafayette and Benton will face-off in the quarterfinal Oct. 28 and Maryville will be in action in the semifinal Oct. 29.
Overall, the team is excited for the rest of the challenges that await. Sundell expressed her excitement after the victory.
“I am excited for the district tournament,” Sundell said. “We gotta get that first game, then we get a bye to the district championship. That will be fun.”
Foster and the Spoofhounds agree that they have some work to do before entering into postseason play but feel confident they can find success moving forward.
“I think we can improve in our chemistry and fluidity throughout the entire match,” Foster said. “The girls have learned so much over the season and grown so quickly. They are ready for whatever any team brings at them.”