After suffering a disappointing loss in the Hancock County Tournament championship this past weekend, the Class 4A No. 11 Mt. Vernon Marauders regrouped and resumed their winning ways on Monday.
Playing host to rival 3A No. 7 New Palestine, the Marauders front row attack tallied 45 kills overall and nine total blocks to sweep the Dragons 3-0.
Mt. Vernon won the match 25-13, 25-19, 25-11. The win marked the team’s 15th in 16 matches, dating back to Sept. 17. Before getting upset by Greenfield-Central in the county championship match on Saturday, 2-1, the Marauders won a season-best 14 consecutive matches.
The former county champions improved to 24-7 and 4-3 in the Hoosier Heritage Conference where they finished fourth in the standings behind 3A No. 1 Yorktown (5-0 HHC), 4A No. 8 New Castle (6-1 HHC), 3A No. 4 Delta (5-2 HHC).
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The Dragons are now 21-9 on the season and wrapped up HHC play at 2-5, which positions them in sixth. New Palestine were shocked by the Greenfield-Central Cougars 2-0 in the county semifinals at Eastern Hancock on Saturday.
Prior to their meeting at county, the Dragons defeated the Cougars 3-0 on Sept. 1. Mt. Vernon also swept the Cougars, 3-0, during their regular-season match on Sept. 13 and 2-0 to win the Cougar Challenge on Sept. 24.
Both the Dragons and Marauders finish up their regular-season schedule this week before prepping for the IHSAA state tournament, beginning on Oct. 20.
Mt. Vernon drew a first-round bye in the Greenfield-Central Sectional and will face the Cougars in a rematch on Oct. 22 in the semifinals at 12:30 p.m.
The Marauders knocked off the Cougars 3-2 in the Sectional 9 finals at New Castle last fall to collect their 11th title and second in five years.
Against the Dragons on Monday, the Marauders sharpened their postseason focus, led by senior Jaclyn Bulmahn’s team-high 18 kills. The outside hitter posted a 51.4 kill percentage in the match with eight digs and two total blocks.
Meridan Eads, who was sidelined earlier this year, paced the offense with 23 assists and four serving aces. Ashton Barr chipped in 10 assists to go with four digs, five total blocks and 11 kills.
Bulmahn has 394 kills in 88 sets with 257 digs, while Barr is second in kills with 280. Bulmahn has more than 1,500 kills in her four-year career.
Abby Anderson contributed four total blocks in the Marauders win against the Dragons, and the tandem of Grace Hurst and Julia Wayer combined for 46 digs at 23 apiece.
Mt. Vernon concludes the regular season today at home against Beech Grove. The Dragons travel to Franklin Community on Thursday before facing Herron in the first round of Sectional 27 on Oct. 20 at Crispus Attucks.
Cougars fall to Red Devils
The Greenfield-Central Cougars dropped a tough 3-1 match to Richmond on the road Monday night.
The Cougars trailed 2-0 after losing the first two sets 25-14, 25-22, before rallying back to win the third 25-21. The Red Devils push through to take the fourth set 25-22.
Greenfield-Central, which swept the Hancock County Tournament on Saturday to win the crown, is now 18-10 on the season.
Laura Banton posted a team-best 16 kills against Richmond, followed by 13 by Emily Diehr and 10 from Haleigh Pribble.
Banton added three serving aces, two total blocks and 22 digs. Hannah Burkhart had 22 digs, and Morgan Grigsby added 17. Pribble finished with 11.
Molly Broome logged 13 digs, four total blocks and 40 assists in the match. Diehr and Mary Voigt had four total blocks.
Greenfield-Central took on HHC front-runner Yorktown at home on Tuesday. They conclude the regular season at Warren Central on Thursday before hosting the Sectional 9 tournament next week.