Marauders prep for Delta with 5-0 win over Pendleton Heights


FORTVILLE — After delays to the the start of the conference schedule due to rain the past two weeks, Mt. Vernon’s girls tennis team finally opened the Hoosier Heritage Conference season Monday.

They did so in dominant fashion on their home courts, sweeping Pendleton Heights 5-0.

Over the 62 games played to earn the win, the Marauders lost just two.

Caroline Allen at No. 1 singles, Maria Downs at No. 3 singles, and the No. 1 doubles team of Kylie Brandes and Ava Lusby all won their matches 6-0, 6-0.

Allen defeated Sarah Ghosh, Downs defeated Carla Fargas, and Brandes/Lusby knocked off Addie Aldredge and Esper Fernandez.

At No. 2 singles and No. 2 doubles, Mt. Vernon wasn’t far off two more perfect matches.

Ginni Morelli won 6-0, 6-1 over Pendleton Heights’ Bella Ritchey at No. 2 singles and the duo of Sophie Maxwell and Addy Lockwood won 6-1, 6-0 over Maddie Dutton and Reigan Friedman to cap off the sweep.

The win continued a red-hot start to the season. Over the weekend the Marauders won all five flights of the Mt. Vernon Invitational and a week earlier took first place at Center Grove’s Trojan Classic Invite.

“We couldn’t have had a better start to the season. Our girls are locked in and the one thing we talk about is that you dictate play. We’re in a position where we should never let another team dictate things,” Mt. Vernon head coach Gabe Muterspaugh said. “If we come out and just play Mt. Vernon tennis, like our girls up and down the lineup know how to do, it should be a good, quick match.”

While the conference win was quick and stress-free, more than anything, the match was a final tune-up before one of the most important regular season matches on the Marauders schedule.

On Wednesday, Mt. Vernon travels to Delta to continue the HHC schedule.

The Marauders are currently ranked 13th in the state, while Delta is ranked 22nd according to the Indiana High School Tennis Coaches Association.

“I think anytime you step on the court, you’re trying to build. We went 3-0 over the weekend and still dropped a spot in the state rankings. That match is one we’ve kind of had an eye on the schedule all year long,” Muterspaugh said. “This early in the year we can learn a lot, but it’s just like I talked about earlier, our girls are confident and if we just play Mt. Vernon tennis they know that they can step on the court and beat anyone. If that’s the way we feel, we can come out and take care of business.”

Delta has dominated league play, but Mt. Vernon is right behind them. The Marauders have 13 second-place conference finishes dating back to 2009. The same year they last defeated the Eagles.

Last season, Mt. Vernon fell 4-1 to Delta with the lone win coming from Brandes at No. 1 singles, who has since moved to doubles. On the year, Delta finished 21-4, went 7-0 in conference play, and advanced to the state quarterfinals as a team.

With everybody returning from last season, the Marauders know just how meaningful Wednesday’s match is. And with an experienced lineup and the addition of Allen and Morelli at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, they’re ready for the task.

“It’s funny. We haven’t really talked about it. They know without us talking about it. We know what we have to do, and we’re going up there to get three points,” Muterspaugh said. “Everyone is back from last year and with the two girls that we’ve put in the lineup, we should take care of business. Every night we step on the court we should be the best team out there.”

The match is set to begin at 5 p.m. at Delta.