MARYVILLE, Mo. — During Miranda Mizera’s two seasons as the Spoofhounds’ head coach, she saw a lot of winning in the Hound Pound. Her teams were 14-2 at home in those two years with the final season ending in the 2020 Class 3 State Championship.
On Monday, Mizera returned to the Spoofhounds’ home gym with her new team — the Class 5 Central Indians. Unfortunately for Mizera, the results were the same at the end of the night with a Spoofhound victory.
Maryville (10-5-1) earned the 3-0 sweep over Central (6-8) with game scores of 25-16, 25-8 and 25-23. For senior Anastyn Pettlon, one of the key players from that championship team still on the Hounds, seeing her former coach was fun, but picking up the win over a much larger school was more fun.
“It is definitely nerve wracking because she is such a good coach and she knows all of us players and knows how to make changes right off the bat,” Pettlon said. “She is incredible. One thing I love about her is that she loves us to death, but she is super competitive. And I am super competitive — our whole team is. So we all wanted to win. But I still love her to death.”
Mizera said afterwards that it was fun to have a game back in Maryville — where she played for the Bearcats and still lives.
“It was good to see familiar faces and really good to see those girls competing,” Mizera said. “They played really hard so honestly it was fun.”
The first set was the night’s most lopsided with Maryville getting off to fast start and senior Rylee Vierthaler and Pettlon each getting a pair of late kills to seal the 25-16 win.
The second set began with Maryville standout freshman Olivia Stanley getting a kill. Vierthaler gave the team a cushion with a kill and back-to-back aces as the lead eventually grew to 13-7 on a kill from sophomore Sabryn Lager.
Central didn’t go away and battled back to tie the set at 14-14. It was 17-17 when Vierthaler came up with a clutch kill to trigger a 6-0 run and build the lead to 23-17.
That is when it appeared as though disaster might have struck for the Spoofhounds. Pettlon jumped up for a block and came down awkwardly. She limped off the floor unable to put much weight on her leg.
“I jump up for a block,” Pettlon said. “I don’t know exactly what happened, but I know that I landed and my foot twisted. It didn’t feel great.”
While the Hound Pound worried about their star setter, Pettlon herself was anything but worried.
“I’ll be fine,” Pettlon said laughing. “Right when I fell, I was like I’m going back in. I’m not going to stay out. I’m going to try my best.”
On the next point, things continued to get worse for the home team as senior libero Kennedy Kurz took an elbow to the head as Vierthaler came down from a hit. Kurz was shaken up and coach Bailey Cook took her out of the game despite her plea to stay in.
“I don’t even know what was going through my head at that point,” Cook said. “There was a lot going through my head. Obviously, I’m concerned for the two of them. They are great girls, great athletes, great students, great everything, but also, they are big players on our court too, so there’s that.”
The Spoofhounds closed out the second set 25-18.
Kurz was able to come back into the match to start the third set and Pettlon limped back from the locker room to the cheers from the Spoofpups student section.
Cook put Pettlon through drills to test her ankle and foot before bringing her back sparingly in the third set, but relied heavily on juniors Bryna Grow and Ella Everhart with Pettlon limited.
“Huge step up and that was the first thing I said in the huddle at the end of the match,” Cook said. “I thanked them and gave them a shoutout for stepping in.”
Everhart played her spot in the rotation and Grow became the team’s primary setter for all rotations.
“I was thinking that I needed to step up and keep the team’s momentum,” Grow said.
Vierthaler, the lone senior not to suffer an injury, set the tone from the beginning of the third set. She had the two kills of the set then another as she went to the service line for a 7-0 run, during which Addison Weldon had two kills and Stanley had another, and the team to a 16-7 lead.
Central battled back to within 17-14, but Pettlon then checked back in and every time that Central made a run, Vierthaler answered. She had three-straight kills for the Hounds as the teams traded points.
Stanley had a kill to make it 22-19. Central tied the match at 22-22, but Vierthaler came back with a kill. Central tied it at 23-23, but again it was Vierthaler who answered with a kill and Maryville closed it out 25-23.
The Hounds are back at home on Tuesday against Plattsburg (4-8-2). They hit the road on Thursday for a key MEC battle with Cameron (10-6-1), the team that ended their season in the district championship last season.
Maryville 3, Lafayette 0
The Spoofhounds topped another St. Joseph opponent last Thursday with a 25-20, 25-22 and 25-19 sweep. Vierthaler led the way with 21 kills while Weldon added nine.
Lager and Pettlon each had three blocks. Kurz had 27 digs and Pettlon had 26 assists while Grow added 11.
The Spoofhounds opened the Winnetonka Tournament by tying with Fort Osage 1-1 — bouncing back to win the second set 25-20 after losing the first 25-23. Vierthaler had seven of the team’s eight kills while Pettlon had seven assists and 12 digs.
Platte County then topped the Hounds 26-24 and 25-20. Vierthaler had seven kills and Pettlon had four.
The Hounds beat Oak Park 25-15 and 25-20 Vierthaler had six kills and she and Jillian Bagley each had two aces.
Maryville ended the tournament with a 25-17, 25-16 loss to St. Pius X. Vierthaler had eight kills. Lager had three blocks and Kurz had 12 digs.