As snow fell for the duration of the weekend across Missouri, the outlook of the Maryville girls soccer matchup with Northland Christian School evolved from bleak to nonviable.
Like many sporting events throughout the state, the matchup, originally scheduled for April 3, was postponed.
It would've been understandable, and perhaps even commonplace, for a coach in Dale Reuter's shoes to send his team home for a day off upon the postponement of the match.
Instead, Reuter gathered his team within the dimly-lit confines of the Maryville High School library to study film and talk strategy, in both review of Maryville's (3-1) latest win and in preparation for its next game.
Instead of praising his team on the heels of an impressive 8-0 victory over Savannah, a game in which sophomore Morgan Pettlon scored six goals, Reuter's focus remained on what could have been done better.
Reuter attributed the 8-0 thrashing more to the unpreparedness of Savannah, rather than the performance of his own team.
"Well, that was Savannah's first game," Reuter said. "I think the route of (Savannah), if that's what you want to call it, had a lot to them really not being ready to play. We came in a little more seasoned than them, and we were prepared, we were ready for a good game."
When it comes to his team's performance on the field, Reuter is never satisfied. Despite the wide margin in score in their last outing, he continued to preach the importance of aggressive play to the Maryville roster.
The message relayed to the players in the film study session, and the very existence of the session itself, are the latest samples in evidence that suggest Reuter's devotion to success is genuine and unrelenting.
"We're not perfect," Reuter said. "The girls know that we go out there and work hard, but we don't play mistake-free ball. We have a lot of young players on this team contributing big minutes, and there's mistakes that they're making."
For Reuter, the inclement weather provided an opportunity to turn his team's attention to the little things. For Maryville, Reuter's commitment to excellence is the foundation of a winning culture.
"A day like today is perfect to bring them in and show them game film," Reuter said. "We can look at what we did right and what we did wrong, and how we can get better at that. To me, it's just natural, and it's what we do as a coaching staff here. We're here to make each one of these players better, and to make this program better, so this is just one more step of doing that."
Pettlon, a forward, has scored an absurd 11 goals in four games this season for the Spoofhounds. The sophomore passed much of the praise to her teammates when reflecting on her latest performance, a six-goal outburst against Savannah.
"It was great to just get the ball in the net," Pettlon said. "I really couldn't do it without the other midfielders though; they helped get the ball through to me."
Pettlon said that she expects more of the same in Maryville's next matchup April 6 against Bishop LeBlond. True to his nature, Reuter is treating the matchup, just the fifth of the season for Maryville, as a critical stop along the way for the Spoofhounds.
"It's a must-win game," Reuter said. "There's no other way of putting that. My expectation is that we play Maryville ball, we control, we keep possession of the ball as much as we can. We can expect to go the full 80 minutes, and hopefully we come out a victor. It is a conference match, it counts against conference standings, so obviously I want to win that game."