FORTVILLE — It was déjà vu all over again in Fortville.
After playing to a near-deadlock in last season’s sectional final at Shelbyville, Mt. Vernon and New Palestine were scoreless through 94 minutes Tuesday night.
The team that prevailed last October with a 1-0 win in overtime triumphed again this time around, as the Marauders remained unbeaten with a 1-0 (4-2 penalty kicks) win Tuesday.
Jacob Fontaine beat NP keeper Jackson Schwier to lift the hosts to glory in a game that was eerily similar to the one that took place 11 months ago.
“It was the same thing,” explained fifth-year Mt. Vernon coach Aaron Britt. “Tonight, I knew what the plan was going to be. It was going to be to make sure they had numbers behind the ball, to contain Mouhamed (Konate).
“Then, they made some good adjustments in the second half. They put us on our heels a little bit. I was glad to see my guys fight through it.”
For the third straight season, the black and gold entered its early-season tilt against its cross-town rivals 4-0. Unlike the past two years, the Marauders remain unblemished after their annual rivalry game.
MV (5-0, 2-0 Hoosier Heritage Conference) snapped that streak Tuesday, and also took possession of the HHC’s traveling trophy.
In the 2012 sectional championship, the Marauders outlasted the Dragons (3-3, 1-1 HHC) 1-0 when Konate scored with one minute and 16 seconds left in OT — which also gave Britt his first win in seven tries against NP.
That game, like Tuesday’s, was largely played in Mt. Vernon’s attacking half. This time around, the hosts put 10 more (12-2) shots on goal than their counterparts, but had the same difficulty finding the net.
The last five contests between the two squads have been decided by a single goal.
“It’s always like this. The games go exactly like this,” Britt offered. “It’s always real tight and it always comes down to one play.”
The two squads moved on to a shootout after regulation and two seven-minute overtimes failed to produce a score.
Both teams scored in the first round of PKs, then failed to connect in the second sequence.
That changed in the third round when MV’s Jacob Thomas struck a ball in the left corner of the net, and NP’s Matt Ernster shot was stopped by Marauder keeper Logan Justus.
With Mt. Vernon ahead 3-2 entering round five, Fontaine stepped to the ball, knowing full-well that a score meant victory.
The junior beat Schwier to the left, avenging the defending HHC champions’ lone conference blemish from a year ago.
The first half was controlled by the Marauders, who would’ve scored twice if not for daring saves by the opposition.
At the 16-minute mark, MV’s Rhyan Woods headed his team’s first corner kick of the night past Schwier, only to have the ball booted out by New Palestine’s Charles Ritzi.
Three minutes later and with Kyle Rodebeck now manning the Dragon net, Konate’s free kick found Rodebeck’s mitts. The junior net minder pushed the ball out, then made consecutive saves on ricochet strikes by two Marauders.