MARYVILLE, Mo. — After a state championship run where Spoofhound volleyball had to play without its raucous student section cheering them on, Tuesday night’s 3-0 sweep of Excelsior Springs offered an experience that has been missed at the Hound Pound.
The ‘Spoofpups’ filled a section of the stands and fed off the dominant play of the Hounds on the court. Maryville (2-4) swept the Tigers 25-13, 25-17 and 25-15.
“It was really fun, honestly,” Maryville freshman Addison Weldon said. “The energy was crazy, and we were just feeding off it. It is the experience you want.”
On the fourth, the Spoofhounds have a mix of players who vary in ages with senior Grace Wright joined by freshman Addison Weldon in the starting lineup.
“We are starting to get comfortable,” Wright said. “The first few times it was really weird. It was a really weird dynamic just never playing together. After we kept working and kept playing together, it just came together nicely.”
“… We just keep getting better every game.”
Many of the upperclassmen and underclassmen who the Hounds are counting on, had never played together before this year. Maryville coach Bailey Cook says that transition has been challenging at times, but is also fun.
“It is difficult at times, but the best part is the leadership of the upperclassmen and the willingness to learn from the underclassmen,” Cook said. “The seniors and juniors are being vocal and leading. They are helping those younger ones who have never played this fast-paced of a game before.”
The first set didn’t start very well for the Hounds as they fell behind 4-1. That deficit was eventually 6-5, before a 6-0 run highlighted by an ace by sophomore Ava Dumke and a kill by Rylee Vierthaler put the Hounds in command.
The Spoofhounds ran away with the set from there to win 25-13.
Maryville carried that momentum into the second set where they roared to a 10-1 lead behind the stellar serving of junior Kennedy Kurz. Cook liked seeing the team start fast in a set.
“In past games, we haven’t necessarily had those fast starts, so we have been working on that in practices,” Cook said. “At the start of each game, each set; I mention to them that we need that fast start so if we happen to get stuck, we have that extra space. I’m hoping that can continue.”
The Spoofhound lead ballooned to 22-9 on a kill from Wright. The Tigers fought back to trim the score again, but Vierthaler ended the set at 25-17 with a kill.
The third set was more of the same with Dumke and Vierthaler starting the match with back-to-back kills. An Ella Everhart ace pushed the lead to 8-2.
Vierthaler got herself to the service line with a kill then had three-straight kills for a 14-3 lead.
Weldon had a kill during the early portion of the third set as well. She credits the veterans around her with feeding her confidence to the point where she can contribute as a freshman.
“Honestly at first, I was really nervous,” Weldon said. “Then all of the upperclassmen including the seniors — even like the sideline, J.V. and C-team —they all kept pepping me up. Rylee, Anastyn (Pettlon), Kennedy and Ava Dumke before every game have given me a pep talk and it gets me in that mental mindset that I can do it and I’ve earned it.”
Maryville goes back on the road for a conference match at Lafayette on Thursday night.