FORTVILLE — The final home game for the Mt. Vernon Marauder senior soccer players will be one they should remember for a long while.
Not only did they have an elaborate and emotional senior night ceremony, but they also clinched at least a share of the Hoosier Heritage Conference title by defeating the Pendleton Heights Arabians 3-0 to improve their conference record to 6-0 and overall record to 10-2.
Beginning the night, Pendleton Heights, New Palestine and Greenfield-Central were all one game behind the Marauders in the loss column of the conference standings, so the Arabians had a lot to play for.
The Marauders quickly put those dreams to rest.
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“It was a really special night for all of us I think,” Marauders head coach Matt Mayhew said in between post-game hugs and handshakes. “I’ve coached a lot of these guys since they were little kids, so this was just great to win a big conference game on their senior night.”
Despite both teams trading possession through the first ten minutes, Mt. Vernon looked the more dangerous side early on. This was confirmed eight minutes into the first half when Carson Jones softly volleyed a ball over the charging Arabians goalkeeper following a deep pass from near mid-field.
The Marauders continued to pepper the Arabians goal in the first half and eventually broke through with two goals scored by senior forward Jarret Whitehouse off of pinpoint crosses from Jones.
The game wasn’t all offense for the Marauders, however. Strong pressing in the midfield and after turnovers prevented the Arabians from mounting any sustained pressure.
Senior goalkeeper Josh Powell faced no shots on goal in the first half and calmly saved the one dangerous attack Pendleton Heights put forward in the second. This was Jones’ fourth shutout of the season.
As the season is gearing up towards tournament time, Mayhew sees his team growing in minor but important ways. For instance, freshman Logan Angelopulos and Drew Heitman were able to play key midfield positions in the second half.
“We’ve been able to work in some freshman into game situations, which I think will help us in the big games we’ve got coming up,” Mayhew said.
Mt. Vernon will get its chance to clinch the outright Hoosier Heritage Conference championship on Tuesday. A New Palestine win, however, opens the door for the possibility of a three-way tie between the Hancock County members of the conference.
“We want to win it outright,” Mayhew stated. “We tied New Pal for (the conference title) last year, so it’s our dream to win it for ourselves this time.”
Mt. Vernon 3, Pendleton Heights 0
PHHS (4-8- 1, 3-2 HHC);0;0;-;0
MVHS (10-2, 6-0 HHC);3;0;-;3
MV: Carson Jones 1 goal, 2 assists; Jarret Whitehouse 2 goals; Josh Powell 4th shutout of the season