FORTVILLE — Not every school gets to play the No. 1 team in the state, let alone the nation.
That was Mt. Vernon’s fate, however, after a 3-2 win against Greenfield-Central on Saturday in the New Castle Sectional final.
Cathedral, with its plethora of Division-I players, lived up to its ranking and used an explosive offensive attack to hand the No. 16 Marauders a 3-0 loss at home Tuesday in the regional championship.
Story continues below gallery
The Fighting Irish (33-0) won 25-20, 25-18, 25-10.
Mt. Vernon (29-5) held its own early, matching the visitors point-for-point in the first two sets but eventually ran out of gas. Junior Jaclyn Bulmahn paced the team with 13 kills, and senior Mary Grace Ertel finished with seven.
Marauders head coach Eric Bulmahn knew the top-ranked Cathedral would be a handful but was proud of his girls for not coming out flat or intimidated.
“I think we were ready to exploit what they had done (this season),” Bulmahn said. “We were with them equally and would occasionally have a mental breakdown. Both teams played great defense. You have to play a perfect game pretty much (to beat them).
“These girls don’t give up. I think that’s why we didn’t fold from the start.”
Cathedral entered Tuesday’s match only having lost an impressive seven sets all season. That dominance continued with its depth, as four players registered five or more kills. On the season, six players registered more than 100 kills.
Senior Anna Jensen led the Fighting Irish with 16 kills, while junior Nia Robinson, who stands 6-foot-1, added 11. Junior setter Maria Schorr finished with 38 assists.
The Marauders jumped out to an 8-3 first-set lead after an Ertel kill and Ashton Barr tipped ball at the net, leaving home fans itching for more. Cathedral climbed back, with multiple kills from Jensen and Robinson, to tie it at 17-all and would outscore Mt. Vernon 8-3 the rest of the way to secure the win.
Jensen had seven kills in the opening set, while Schorr added 15 assists.
The Marauders continued to fight and claw in the second set, never trailing by more than five points. Ertel pulled her team within three, 15-18, but the Fighting Irish responded with a 7-3 run to close out the set and take a 2-0 match advantage.
By the third set, Mt. Vernon was drained and could not find ways to score, allowing Cathedral to take a 25-10 win.
“This is the best team Mt. Vernon’s ever had, and I’m very proud of them,” Bulmahn added.
Senior co-captains Teresa Bond and Ertel experienced ups and downs in their four-year careers. After two 9-22 seasons to start, the pair ended their final volleyball season in a more memorable way — with a sectional title.
Bulmahn said the two will be greatly missed.
“I very happy for both of them,” he said. “They’ve worked so hard and wanted it so bad (sectional title). They weren’t satisfied. I’m proud they weren’t ready to settle.”
Cathedral moves on to the Seymour Semistate on Saturday and will play either Castle or Floyd Central.