FORTVILLE — A year ago, Emma Langdon was a spectator.
As a junior, she watched from the sidelines while the Mt. Vernon girls soccer team experienced both elation and heartbreak at the hands of rival Greenfield-Central.
She was there when the Marauders defeated the Cougars 3-0 during the 2016 regular season and later fell in a shootout to settle the sectional championship last October.
On Tuesday, however, the senior made her presence known during the annual rivalry match — and it didn’t take long.
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Back with the Marauders after spending the past two years playing club soccer, Langdon fired a goal in the match’s second minute to put Mt. Vernon up 1-0.
A goal by fellow senior Morgan Scruggs with 12 minutes, 39 seconds left in the second half sealed the victory as Mt. Vernon won 2-0.
“I went to the games last year, so I kind of knew, but I didn’t feel it as much,” Langdon remarked on the rivalry. “Now, since I’m here, it’s definitely something big.”
The Valparaiso University recruit’s goal calmed the Marauders, who were searching to avenge last season’s loss.
Langdon’s shot came off a ball played by Riley Hurst in front of the Cougars’ goal, which she laced into the back of the net with 78-plus minutes left to go.
“Defensively, we didn’t start the game well. We had two defensive mistakes and they capitalized on both mistakes we made,” Greenfield-Central head coach Erin Clark said. “You just can’t make mistakes right in front of the goal.”
Despite the two goals, Cougars’ goalkeeper Kayla Enochs made few miscalculations, recording 13 saves against Mt. Vernon’s 22 shots.
Enochs, a MacMurry College recruit, made a slick save on an Alexi Hardie penalty kick with 24:20 remaining in the first half and stopped a one-time attempt by Ratts with 7:38 left before halftime.
In the first half, Mt. Vernon’s pressure hemmed in the Cougars, however, keeping them on their end of the field looking for a spark, which never materialized.
“We just never got anything going offensively. In the last game, our offense was just working. Lots of give-and-goes, one-touch quick balls up the middle,” Cougars head coach Erin Clark said. “We just didn’t have any of that going today.”
Greenfield-Central was coming off of a 2-0 shutout against Warren Central in the season opener last week and a 5-3 win against 2016 regional final opponent Franklin Central last Wednesday.
Both victories put them at 2-0 against potential sectional foes. Mt. Vernon ended their run while gaining a 1-0 advantage in the Hoosier Heritage Conference standings.
Mt. Vernon won the outright HHC title in 2016, and their fourth straight victory this season pushed the Cougars (2-1) to 0-1 in the conference.
“They’re well-coached and they’re scrappy. I thought we had most of the possession, but you just can’t let down for a second,” Mt. Vernon head coach Steven Williams said. “It’s that county rivalry thing. You can throw all the other stuff out the window. They came to play.”
Mt. Vernon (4-0) stuck to what it does best to stay unbeaten on the season. Through the Marauders’ first three matches this year, they’ve outscored the competition 30-1. Their shutout against Greenfield-Central was the team’s third and upped the margin to 32-1.
Jaici Wright had four saves to record her third shutout through 280 minutes.
The offense backed up Wright with 15 shots on goal, including an initial shot by Nicole Ratts late in the second half, which Scruggs cleaned up in the 67th minute for her ninth goal this season.
The only setback for the Marauders in the game was the loss of junior defender Ellie Roach, who suffered a leg injury late in the first half.
“She dislocated her patella,” Williams said. “They popped it back in, but she’ll be out around three weeks.”
Roach’s injury adds to the loss of junior forward Cleo Mills, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament in March and is still rehabbing for a potential return in September.
“Once we got the second goal, I felt confident, but they’re scary,” Williams said. “I remember all my losses and I carry them with me, but the girls are mature enough to let those things motivate them, but not just that loss but the rivalry because it’s Greenfield.
“We’re a really good offensive team. We have a lot of players that can score. Emma Langdon coming back for us was really sweet.”
Mt. Vernon 2, Greenfield-Central 0
GC (2-1, 0-1 HHC);0;0;—;0
MV (4-0, 1-0 HHC);1;1;—;1
Goals: Morgan Sruggs, Emma Langdon
Assists: Nicole Ratts, Riley Hurst
Saves: Kayla Enochs 13 (GC), Jaici Wright 4 (MV)