Marauders’ Britt named Daily Reporter Girls Soccer Coach of the Year

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FORTVILLE — It was a bittersweet return for Mt. Vernon girls soccer coach Aaron Britt this fall.

After a six-year hiatus from coaching soccer at the high school level, Britt took up the reins for the Marauders this season after the retirement of former head coach Steve Williams.

The opportunity was too good to pass up said Britt, a 1998 Mt. Vernon graduate and a former Marauders’ boys soccer coach from 2000-2014.

With two daughters in the program — Riley and Reagan — the timing was perfect.

Through the 2021 season’s first eight games, work was play for Britt, but then things changed on Sept. 8 at home against county and Hoosier Heritage Conference foe New Palestine.

While the Marauders won the match, 3-2, the cost was heavy as Britt’s oldest daughter, and starting goalkeeper, Riley, a senior, crumbled to the field with a season-ending knee injury.

“It made it extremely hard. I had some open conversations with the girls during the season while it was going on. The day after, it was very difficult at times,” Britt recalled.

For most coaches, the heartbreak of seeing a player lose the remainder of their season is difficult enough, but even more so when it’s your own daughter.

Despite being pulled in two different directions at once the rest of the season — as he tried to be there for Riley through her recovery while also leading the team — Britt’s Marauders powered through, en route an 11-4-1 overall record and a third HHC title in four years.

The Marauders finished a perfect 7-0 in HHC play, winning their final three league games without Riley in goal, and reached the sectional finals for a fourth consecutive season.

“I absolutely loved every minute of it. I knew I would enjoy and love working with the senior girls that were there, but just getting to know some of the younger girls and getting back with a really competitive group, I loved every single minute,” said Britt, the 2021-22 Daily Reporter Girls Soccer Coach of the Year.

“You kind of go into survival mode and try to figure it out when you lose a player. It’s your daughter and a huge piece of the group. You’re counting on that and you’re supremely confident in that position and that person, and you’re kind of building things around that, and then you lose that.”

Fortunately, the Class 3A Marauders’ depth provided some relief for Britt and the program with three NCAA Division-I commits in seniors Lily Wilson (Bellarmine), Shay Shipley and Madison Swingle on the roster.

Reagan Britt, a freshman, moved into goal and the offense produced 63 goals in 16 matches, but the Marauders fell just short in their quest at a sectional repeat, losing to East Central, 2-0, in the title game at Greenfield-Central High School.

“The season didn’t end how everyone wanted it to end, except for (state champion) Homestead, but we won the conference. That was a goal of ours. I was excited about that and to run the table. In spite of (Riley’s injury), we were able to figure that out and do it. That was a huge positive,” Britt said. “Come tournament time, we were figuring things out and playing a lot girls with a lot of talent, who will continue to play at the collegiate level. It was a great year, all the way around. It was a great year to get back into it.”

Prior to the 2021 season, Britt served as a varsity boys assistant coach from 2000-09 and was head coach of the program from 2009-14. In his tenure with the boys, Britt coached the Marauders to sectional titles in 2010 and 2012.

Through that time, he also instructed with FC Pride and later with Impact Soccer Club in McCordsville.

In his first year back at Mt. Vernon, Britt earned All-HHC Coach of the Year honors, which he shared with Shelbyville’s Chelsea Dourson.

As for the future, Britt believes there’s still more to come.

“You always hate losing five senior starters, three of them Division-I players, so that’s never a great thing, but we did start six freshmen and sophomores and had a great number of juniors that were really strong for us. There is a good core group coming back for us for sure,” Britt said.

“This year, I knew who was there. There were quite a few things that were set, so it will be exciting to see how some of these younger girls continue to work. There’s a lot promise in a lot of players that didn’t see time this year that I’m really excited about. It will be fun to see that come back around and see what we have to work with in the summer.”

2021 All-Hoosier Heritage Conference Girls Soccer Team

Addie Chester, Sr., Delta

Jessica Merritt, So., Greenfield-Central

Courtney Vaughn, Jr., Greenfield-Central

Kalyn Moss, So., Greenfield-Central

Sarah Contrarez, Jr., Greenfield-Central

Maddie Swingle, Sr., Mt. Vernon

Shay Shipley, Sr., Mt. Vernon

Bri Hale, Sr., Mt. Vernon

Lily Wilson, Sr., Mt. Vernon

Ellie Gawrys, So, Mt. Vernon

Kylie Brandes, Fr., Mt. Vernon

Maggie Lewis, Sr., New Castle

Allie Blum, So., New Palestine

Sydney Miller, Jr., New Palestine

Tylar Whitaker, Fr., New Palestine

Anna Luker, Jr., New Palestine

Isabelle Phillips, So, Pendleton Heights

Kaitlyn Prickett, Sr., Pendleton Heights

Katie Coleman, Fr., Pendleton Heights

Sophie Parker, Sr., Shelbyville

Evelyn Kiefer, Jr., Shelbyville

Ava Wilson, So., Shelbyville

Chloe Mariotti, Sr., Yorktown

Hayley Reece, So., Yorktown

Coaches of the Year: Aaron Britt, Mt. Vernon; Chelsea Dourson, Shelbyville

2021 HHC Girls Soccer Standings

Pos, Team;CW-CL;W-L;T

1. Mt. Vernon Marauders;7-0;11-4;1

2. New Palestine Dragons;6-1;10-6;0

3. Pendleton Heights Arabians;5-2;9-7;1

4. Shelbyville Golden Bears;4-3;9-5;2

5. Yorktown Tigers;3-4;9-6;0

6. Greenfield-Central Cougars;2-5;6-10;0

7. Delta Eagles;1-6;8-7;0

8. New Castle Trojans;0-7;2-13;1

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