FORTVILLE — The Marauders are experiencing a bad case of déjà vu.
After defeating Perry Meridian 2-0 on Thursday in the second semifinal of the Mt. Vernon Regional, the Marauders are one step closer to redemption.
No. 7 Center Grove, which knocked off Franklin Central 7-0 in the first semifinal Thursday, ended the Marauders’ last regional appearance (2012) in the championship match, 1-0. The two will meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday in the regional final at for the second time in four seasons.
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“We talk about the history, but we are focused on this year,” Mt. Vernon head coach Matt Mayhew said. “It should be a great game.”
Forwards Carson Jones and Jarret Whitehouse scored second-half goals to seal the win for the Marauders (17-2-1). However, Mt. Vernon, which earned its seventh straight win, struggled to survive in the first half against a quick and pesky Falcons club (9-7-1).
“We had to settle down,” Mayhew said. “We didn’t know how to respond to their speed. I felt like we were so defensive in the first half. That’s the quickest team we’ve played all season.”
Sophomore Timmy Clone nearly got the Marauders on the board with 36 minutes remaining in the opening half, but Perry Meridian’s keeper rushed the forward after a through ball and saved the Falcons from a 1-0 deficit.
Ten minutes later, Perry Meridian challenged junior goalkeeper Josh Powell, who recorded his 11th shutout this season, with a high velocity shot in the box. Powell dove to his left and popped the ball to a teammate for his first save of the game.
The small and quick Falcons forced Powell to make several key saves midway through the first half. He finished with six stops in a physical opening half as neither team would garner much momentum.
Eight minutes into the second half, though, Jones, who leads the team in scores, got a ball from senior midfielder Devin Nelson and finished it on the left side to give Mt. Vernon a 1-0 lead.
Whitehouse added the insurance goal with seven minutes remaining in the contest. Powell finished with 10 saves in the win.
“Three of them were unbelievable,” Mayhew added. “(He was) totally parallel to the ground on a couple. The four in front of him did their part too.”
Mayhew said in order to trump Center Grove this time around, the Marauders will need to worry about themselves.
“I think patience and not falling into who their scorer is and just playing our game,” he said.