Variety Show: Multiple Marauders lead way in sectional semifinal win


GREENFIELD — They aren’t lacking weapons and they showed a portion of their arsenal Thursday.

Class 3A No. 16 Mt. Vernon got five goals from five different players in a 5-1 victory over Greenfield-Central during their Class 3A Sectional 12 semifinal match at Hancock Health Stadium Thursday.

In two tournament contests, the Marauders (11-3-1) have had 11 goals from seven different players. They have a few other big threats, too, making them a solid candidate to win their second-straight sectional championship.

The victory over the rival Cougars (6-10) put them in Saturday’s 7 p.m. title game against another formidable foe, No. 18 East Central (14-2-1), a 9-0 winner over Shelbyville in Thursday’s second-semifinal contest.

“A big focus for us is sharing the ball, moving together as a team, as a unit,” Mt. Vernon first-year head coach Aaron Britt. “We try to put eight girls in the attack as much as we can.

“Last year Anna (Isger, now at Western Kentucky) was really dominant, and could be, so they could play a little more direct and she scored (a county-best 25) goals. This year, we don’t have the same type of player, but the total talent on the team is pretty high. We’re trying to get people there and make combinations and whoever gets on the end of it … Nobody is focused on stats, which is a blessing. Nobody is real stat hungry and has to get their goals.”

Assisted from sophomore Mattie Isger, senior Shay Shipley, one of three Division-I commitments on the Marauder roster, scored the game’s first goal in the eighth minute. Shipley has plans to play at Northern Kentucky.

It was the lone goal in a foul-heavy first half.

In the 48th minute, Isger scored the first of four second-half goals. She got the assist from sophomore Elise Gawrys.

Lilian Muhlenkamp, another sophomore, who did not score in the regular season, got her second goal in as many sectional games. In the 57th minute, she put the Marauders up 3-0. She also was one of five goal scorers in the team’s 6-0 first-round win over Richmond.

“Our motto has been, ‘Find a way.’ Whatever it takes. Whoever it is,” Britt added. “If you’re put in that position, finish it for the team.”

“We all recognize that it is a team effort,” Muhlenkamp said. “We’re all trying to advance ourselves and score. It helps us because it’s not just one person. Everyone has the drive and that helps set up more people to score.”

Greenfield-Central’s Courtney Vaughn, on a free kick from over 30 yards out, in the 58th minute, cut it to 3-1, but the Marauders were able to put more pressure on the Cougar defense.

Senior Lillian Wilson, who just recently committed to Bellarmine, tacked on the Marauders next goal in the game’s 67th minute. The final goal came from junior Mariam Konate, in the 78th minute.

Konate, Wilson, Muhlenkamp and freshmen Kylie Brandes and Addison Wong all had goals against Richmond.

Madison Swingle, who has committed to play at Cincinnati, came into the tournament as Mt. Vernon’s second-leading goal scorer with nine. The Marauders have had 14 different goal scorers this season.

Thursday’s conference was the second of the season between the Hancock County and Hoosier Heritage Conference rivals. In August, Mt. Vernon, with a late second-half goal, won 1-0.

“That’s a really good team,” Greenfield-Central head coach Brandon Steeno said of the Marauders. “Coach Britt and his staff have done a real good job of getting them ready.”

Steeno had high praise for his team, too, and his three seniors, Nora Gardner, Emma Rennier and Haley Arthur, who played their final game.

“This team is probably my favorite to coach of all-time,” Steeno said. “It’s because they worked so hard and pushed each other so hard. That is a true team environment, all 33 girls. That makes me happy as a coach.”

Mt. Vernon did not play East Central during the regular season. The Marauders beat the Trojans 3-0 in a sectional semifinal game last year. East Central beat Mt. Vernon 3-0 in the sectional championship game in 2019.

“The same thing as we did (Thursday), unselfishness, playing together, putting together a whole game,” Britt said on keys to winning the title on Saturday. ”

“We’re all going to work really hard, like we do every game,” Muhlenkamp added. “We’re going to bring it the best that we can.”