YORKTOWN — Mt. Vernon’s youthful volleyball team gained ample experience throughout the regular season.
On Thursday, they got their feet wet in postseason play and came away with a trip to Saturday’s Yorktown Sectional semifinals.
Led by a pair of freshman attackers, Mt. Vernon (12-20) didn’t take long to defeat Anderson (1-12) in a three-set sweep in a quarterfinal round match of Class 4A Sectional 9 of the IHSAA Girls Volleyball State Tournament at Yorktown High School.
Mt. Vernon won by set scores of 25-7, 25-11, 25-4.
The Marauders will take on tournament favorite Yorktown, ranked second in the state in Class 4A, in an 11:30 a.m. semifinal match Saturday. The first semifinal at 10 a.m. pits Greenfield-Central against Pendleton Heights. The winners will play at 6 p.m. for the sectional title and berth into next week’s regional tournament.
Yorktown won Thursday’s second quarterfinal match. Like the Marauders, the Tigers didn’t take long to defeat Richmond, winning 3-0 by set scores of 25-5, 25-1, 25-9.
Against Anderson, Mt. Vernon was never challenged, jumping out to a quick 8-1 lead in the opening set.
The Marauders led 9-6 in the second before pulling away with seven of the next eight points. In the third set, they scored the first four points and then went on a 9-0 run after the Indians got on the board. A 9-0 run followed the next Anderson point, giving them the biggest lead of the match, 22-2.
“They played well and I got everyone in,” Mt. Vernon first-year head coach Samantha Grider said. “Every hitter had a kill.”
Freshman outside/right side hitter Sierra Holverson led the attack with 10 kills. Frosh middle/right side hitter Alivia Morgan added eight.
Junior hitters Sophia Damer, Kate Ferguson, Easton Wampler and Kyla Selbe, sophomore hitters Olivia Johnson and another frosh hitter, Leah Kay all had at least one kill. Sophomore setter Ava Whitmore had a kill, too.
For Kay, it was her first-ever varsity action. She had two kills and a block.
When the Marauders weren’t finishing attacks they were scoring quickly on serves. They finished with 14 service aces.
The win also ended a five-match losing streak.
Grider said the team practiced well during the week and felt confident that they would be able to come away with a victory. The task will be much tougher Saturday against the host Tigers.
“They all definitely stepped up to the plate (Thursday) and it helps our confidence level going into Saturday,” Grider said. “We definitely have to minimize errors.”
Grider said errors hurt when they met Yorktown earlier in a regular season match Sept. 8 in Fortville, won by the Tigers 3-0.
All four teams remaining in the sectional are from the Hoosier Heritage Conference.