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2014 Volleyball Preview: Mt. Vernon

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Coach: Eric Bulmahn, 1st season

2013: 9-21, 0-6 Hoosier Heritage Conference. Defeated by New Castle in 4A Sectional 9 quarterfinal.

Key Players (with grade/position):

Mary Grace Ertel/11/OH

Jaclyn Bulmahn/10/OH

Shelby Blair/12/RS

Ashton Barr/10/S/RS

Teresa Bond/11/S

Abby Anderson/10/MB

Kari Kramer/10/MB

Maddie Keerns/10/DS

Julia Wayer/10/DS

Aubri Benbow/12/DS

Grace Hurst/9/DS

Anne McCain/10/MB/RS

Outlook:  With seven sophomores and one freshman on the 12-girl roster, there’s nowhere to go but up for the MV volleyball program. And, given the talent level of those youngsters, that’s exactly the direction the team is headed, their coach believes. “I think it’s going to be a successful campaign,” Eric Bulmahn said. “We’ve got some height. We’ve got three kids that are 6-foot. A couple other that are 5-10, 5-11. And we’ve got an experienced back row.” … The Marauders finished fourth out of 24 teams in a summer league at Plainfield. … Teresa Bond missed most of last season with a concussion. The junior and Ashton Barr, a sophomore, will be the setters in MV’s 5-2 system. Barr is a transfer from New Castle. “As the year goes along, we’ll add more and more to their plate to make it a more complex offense,” Bulmahn said. … Sophomores Abby Anderson and Kari Kramer get varsity shots at middle back. “Both have embraced the middle and improving pretty rapidly,” the coach noted. … MV’s returning standout kill leaders are junior Mary Grace Ertel and sophomore Jaclyn Bulmahn, both outside hitters. Bulmahn was a First Team All-Hancock County and All-Hoosier Heritage Conference Honorable Mention selection last season while Ertel was all-county honorable mention. … The Marauders enjoy a deep back row, led by experienced defensive specialists Aubri Benbow, Maddie Keerns and Julia Wayer and frosh Grace Hurst. “Grace is a very good athlete and I expect she’ll challenge those three,” Bulmahn said. … It’s the first year as head coach for Bulmahn, who replaced the retired Kris Lashaway. So far, Bulmahn couldn’t be happier. “I was very fortunate that just about all the girls played offseason volleyball in different clubs,” he said. “So, they worked hard in the offseason program. Then, when we started working with them this summer, we basically ran it like a camp each practice. Just teaching them all the skills the right away, so we could have a solid foundation going into the season. They’ve progressed really well. They embraced it.”

First serve: The Marauders host Hamilton Heights Tuesday.

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