FORTVILLE — Don’t be fooled by the graduation loss of the team’s Division I talent.
Mt. Vernon has plenty of returnees from Hancock County’s most dominant girls soccer program.
The Marauders have a combined record of 40-2 in Hoosier Heritage Conference matches since 2016.
They’ve been to sectional title games four times, winning in 2020. They reached the regional title match in 2020, also.
Maddie Swingle is now at the University of Cincinnati. Shay Shipley, last year’s leading scorer, is playing at Northern Kentucky. Another graduate, Lily Wilson will be playing Division-I soccer at Bellarmine. Goalkeeper Riley Britt expects to play after this year, as she is still recovering from an injury.
The Marauders do have 10 goal scorers returning, including six multi-goal scorers.
“We lost a good number of players, a couple of Division I players and a lot of players that contributed,” Mt. Vernon coach Aaron Britt said. “At the same time, being able to have six sophomores and freshmen consistently part of the starting lineup goes a long way.”
Mattie Isger tied with Swingle for second on the team in net-finders in 2021 with nine. As a freshman last year, Kylie Brandes scored seven goals. Mariam Konate (5), Addison Wong (4), Hannah Monroe (3) Lily Muhlenkamp (2) are all familiar with the pitch and the Marauders’ winning ways.
Brandes, Wong and Monroe are all sophomores. Isger and Muhlenkamp are still just juniors.
“The seniors from last year, that experience did us a huge favor in bringing (the young players) along and showing them the ropes,” coach Britt said. “I feel pretty comfortable with this group. They’re still going to be pretty young, but it’s young with experience, which is something you don’t get a whole lot of, or with this many girls.”
Junior back Ellie Gawrys is another returnee. She scored the team’s lone goal in the season-opening 3-1 loss to Class 2A Bishop Chatard on Monday.
Reagan Britt, a midfielder, is another returnee.
The coach believes some newcomers should step right in and help, too. That group includes junior midfielder Lily Printz, a transfer student, freshman back Jaicee Cole and two new goalkeepers, freshman Ava Stephenson and senior Khloee Patterson, who ran cross country and played basketball for the Marauders last season.
Even with the returning experience, the coach said he has made it a point that his players realize this season is a new one.
“I’ve told them, this team has not yet accomplished anything,” the coach said. “We can’t lean on past success and teams that were here before. I think this team will be extremely balanced, and one of the most balanced teams I’ve seen at Mt. Vernon in a really long time. I think they can have a pretty high level of play and have consistency across the board.”
The Marauders returned to action at Tipton Thursday. They will travel to Franklin Saturday before an HHC-Hancock County battle Monday evening at Greenfield-Central.