FORTVILLE — It takes victories in three of five positions to win a high school tennis match.
To satisfy the 2015 Mt. Vernon girls, however, nothing less than a complete, 5-0 team shutout is acceptable.
The host Marauders somewhat begrudgingly accepted a 4-1 sectional title victory against New Palestine on Friday.
With a program-record 13 victories this season by 5-0 counts, Mt. Vernon (16-3) has gotten used to all-encompassing superiority.
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“It’s like a whole team effort — everyone wins,” said Mt. Vernon No. 1 singles ace Cassie York, who improved to 19-5 on the season with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Kristi LeBeau on Friday.
York was joined in the straight-sets win column by Molly Laughlin (No. 2 singles) and Sarah Jones (No. 3 singles), who defeated New Palestine’s Amelia Fleetwood and Katie Settergren, 6-1, 6-1, and 6-0, 6-0, respectively. And, at No. 2 doubles, the Marauders’ Briana Partin and Kendra Eberhard took care of Jamie Mittman and Cassie Willhelm, 6-0, 6-3.
“Dominant … dominant … dominant …. dominant,” is how Mt. Vernon coach Gabe Muterspaugh described the victories. “And that’s what we wanted to prove. This isn’t a fluke. We beat you 5-0 in the (regular) season, we beat you 5-0 at county, and we wanted to do it again.
“And, give credit to the No. 1 doubles. It’s hard to play when you know you’re sitting there winning, up 4-0.”
Unlike the Marauders’ previous showdowns with New Palestine this season, they look a setback at No. 1 doubles, where the Dragons’ Lauren Hardebeck and Alana Henry outlasted Addison Eads and Emily Annakin, 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7).
Henry was one of four sophomores in the Dragons’ sectional lineup, while six upperclassmen took the court for the home Mt. Vernon squad.
“Definitely a good experience this year for a lot of the younger girls,” New Palestine coach Chris Hardin said. “We struggled through some adversity and injuries again this season, but they battled up to the end.”
No. 1 singles players and No. 1 doubles teams from non-advancing sectional teams generally qualify for the next round of the individual state tournament, but Hardebeck and Henry haven’t played enough matches together to meet the IHSAA standard, Hardin said.
New Palestine suffered a 3-2 sectional title loss to the Marauders a year ago. Hardin, in his 10th season as head coach, said the current Mt. Vernon unit is operating a different level.
“I think they’re one of the better teams they’ve had,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of talent. They’ve got a lot of athleticism. And they’ve got a lot of drive.”
In addition to York’s 19-5 record, Jones improved to 17-4 for the Marauders at No. 3 singles, Partin and Eberhard are a gaudy 18-2, and Eads and Annakin fell to 19-3 at No. 1 doubles.
For all of the Marauders’ supreme performance this season, they face a daunting task: claiming the program’s — and Hancock County’s — first regional title. No local girls or boys team has ever won a regional tennis trophy.
The Marauders play Tuesday in the North Central Regional semifinals against Lawrence North. The other half of the regional bracket wasn’t completed by late Friday evening.
Lawrence Central ended Mt. Vernon’s 2014 campaign, taking their regional semifinal match, 3-2.
York earned one of the Marauders’ victories against Lawrence Central, pairing with Eads for a doubles victory. Laughlin was also part of a doubles win.
That experience could help Mt. Vernon get over the hump this time around.
“Our singles is a lot stronger than it’s been in a while, at least since I’ve been here,” York said. “Our doubles has always kind of clicked. They’re good enough to win at regionals, and at least one of our singles can win … anywhere down the line, one, two or three.”
Mt. Vernon 4, New Palestine 1
No. 1 singles: York (MV) def. LeBeau (NP), 6-1, 6-1
No. 2 singles: Laughlin (MV) def. Fleetwood (NP), 6-1, 6-1
No. 3 singles: Jones (MV) def. Settergren (NP), 6-0, 6-0
No. 1 doubles: Hardebeck/Henry (NP) def. Eads/Annakin (MV), 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (9-7)
No. 2 doubles: Partin/Eberhard (MV) def. Mittman/Willhelm (NP), 6-0, 6-3