NEW PALESTINE — The senior volleyball players of New Palestine took their home court for the final time in their high school careers Thursday night.
The Mt. Vernon Marauders made sure they didn’t leave with a victory as the visitors played spoiler on senior night, defeating the Dragons 3-2.
New Palestine’s Allison Dennemann, Katie Bancroft, Morgan Willard, Mia Long, and Jordan Brittsan all suited up for their Hoosier Heritage Conference matchup against Mt. Vernon, which went to a decisive fifth set.
The Marauders prevailed and finished the season fourth in the final HHC standings.
As one would expect, the conference and country rivalry was entertaining, behind the talented Victoria Bulmahn’s stat-stuffing performance with 22 kills, 18 assists, and a career-high nine blocks for Mt. Vernon.
Freshman Claire Ertel finished with a season-high 13 kills and 20 digs, and classmate Olivia Yeley finished the night with seven blocks.
New Palestine had many answers throughout led by senior Allison Dennemann’s 32 kills and 18 digs.
Mt. Vernon head coach Eric Bulmahn was pleased with his Marauders’ performance, which ended with a 15-13 fifth-set win.
“We have had a tough schedule all year, so I think we will be ready for the tough competition sectionals will bring,” Bulmahn said. “We have some young talent and experienced play as well, and hopefully the seniors will lead the way for us.”
This was a defensive battle between two teams that had endless energy, a lot of depth and could run into each other again at the Greenfield-Central Sectional next week.
Mt. Vernon won the first and third games 25-20 and 25-23, while New Palestine won the second and fourth (25-16, 25-18) in convincing fashion.
The fifth, however, was not going to be denied from Mt. Vernon.
“The seniors have been instrumental in the development of our program. We made some New Pal history last year. We won a sectional last year and hadn’t won one since 1989, and won first regional in school history in Class 3A, and they were a huge part of all of that,” New Palestine head coach Kelli Whitaker remarked on her seniors after the match. “They mean so much to me personally, I love to coach them. They just a great group of girls.”
Heading into sectional play, New Palestine will face Richmond in the opening round.
“Both teams are 9-3 against common opponents, so I know it will be tough,” Whitaker said. “We are looking forward to sectional play, we know what we need to work on and get better at.”
Mt. Vernon will open up against Greenfield-Central in sectional action next week on Thursday.
Mt. Vernon 3, New Palestine 2
Kills: Allison Dennemann 32 (NP); Mia Long 23 (NP) Victoria Bulmahn 22 (MV)
Digs: Lydia Jones 23 (NP) Claire Ertel 20 (MV)
Assists: Sydney Robertson 50 (NP) Meridan Eads 35 (MV)
Aces: Victoria Bulmahn 3 (MV)
Blocks: Victoria Bulmahn 9 (MV) Jordan Brittsan 7 (NP)