FORTVILLE — The Class 3A Mt. Vernon Marauders wasted no time asserting their dominance against the Richmond Red Devils in the opening round of sectional play Tuesday night.
In the first 12 minutes, the Marauders scored three goals and would eventually win the game 8-2 to advance into the semifinals Thursday.
The Marauders may have been a little too antsy at the start of the game, as their forwards were called for offsides three times in the first six minutes. But one minute later the floodgates opened as a long throughball from the defense sprung Morgan Scruggs, who glanced the ball in off the bottom of the cross bar to open the scoring.
“Our offense came out on fire,” Mt. Vernon coach Steve Williams said after the game. “I was really pleased with how aggressive we came out and just kept the pressure on.”
Nicole Ratts became the star of the first half, however. In a span of 23 minutes, she scored a hat trick. The first goal was a beautiful chip over the keeper from the top of the box that went in the upper corner of the net. The second was from a tight angle along the goal line, which Ratts hit the upper roof of the net to push the Marauder lead to 3-0.
“I said our offense was on fire, but Nikki was really on fire,” Williams beamed. “I think her first three shots went in. Its great when we get scoring from all over the field like we did tonight.”
The Red Devils weren’t exactly a pushover, however. Goals by Nakala Bennett and Maria Suarez in the first and second half, respectively, showed Richmond had the skill to challenge the Marauders, but Mt. Vernon’s relentless attack did not allow for any real hopes of an upset.
“Richmond has got some pretty good speed, so I liked to see our defense handling that speed pretty well,” said Williams.
The Marauders also got goals from Alexi Hardie, Emma Langdon, Riley Hurst and Emily Keeler to pad their margin of victory.
With the win, the Marauders improved their record to 14-3 on the season. They will play Franklin Central at 5:30 p.m. Thursday night in the semifinals. The other semifinal will take place at 7:15 p.m. between No. 12 East Central and Greenfield-Central.
Coach Williams will have his team ready.
“I’m just taking it one day at a time, thinking about practice tomorrow, where we will prepare for Franklin Central,” Williams said. “I can’t think about anything after that.”
Mt. Vernon 8, Richmond 2