FORTVILLE — The competition is about to get a lot stronger, but the first round of the Mt. Vernon Regional turned out like many of the matches played this season, and postseason, by the 18th-ranked Mt. Vernon girls tennis team.

On Tuesday in a regional semifinal against Centerville, Mt. Vernon swept through with a 5-0 victory. All five matches were straight set victories. The Bulldogs managed to win just seven games.

Mt. Vernon Italian exchange-student Ginni Morelli was first to get off the court. She was the first of two 6-0, 6-0 victors. She defeated Centerville’s Kylar Marshall.

The Marauders undefeated No. 1 doubles team of Kylie Brandes and Ava Lusby won by the same score over Addie Shipman and Avery Dickerson.

Clinching the match with the third victory was Mt. Vernon’s No. 2 doubles team of Addy Lockwood and Sophia Maxwell, 6-0, 6-1 winners over Madi Fralick and Myleigh Hartman.

Mt. Vernon senior No. 3 singles player Maria Downs, after trailing 2-1 in the first set, won 6-2, 6-0 over Ellie Cox.

To wrap up the sweep, sophomore No. 1 singles player, Caroline Allen, a first-year Marauder after moving to the area from Brownsburg, won 6-3, 6-1 over Makenna Hartman.

With the victory, Mt. Vernon plays 5 p.m. today against No. 2 Fishers, a 5-0 winner over New Castle, for the regional championship.

“We tried to keep it pretty simple with them (before the match). We told them go out, take care of business and you have a chance of a lifetime of playing the No. 2 team in the state and go to the semi-state for the first time in school history,” Mt. Vernon head coach Gabe Muterspaugh said. “For the most part, it was a very workmanlike performance.”

Fishers will be the toughest challenge to date. Mt. Vernon is 14-3 in duals, with the lone losses coming to other state-ranked teams.

“We’ve got a shot and we should play with no fear. All the pressure’s on Fishers,” Muterspaugh added.

The Marauders beefed up their schedule this season. They have wins over No. 14 Center Grove, No. 20 Delta, No. 26 Homestead and No. 27 Terre Haute South. The few losses have come to No. 6 Franklin, No. 9 Noblesville and No. 13 Cathedral, all very competitive matches.

Mt. Vernon has won 10 straight sectional titles, but its still looking for a first regional championship.

The task will be tough, but this may be the best lineup the Marauders have ever had.

They didn’t graduate any varsity players from last year’s sectional championship group, which included an all-state player in Brandes. To go with the veterans, they added two extremely talented newcomers in Allen, an all-state doubles player with her sister last season at Brownsburg, and Morelli, who grew up playing tennis on the clay courts in Italy.

They’ve fit in well at the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively.

“All the girls have been super welcoming and super inclusive,” Allen said. “They’ve all supported me throughout this year. The coaches have been, too, and they have helped me grow as a player.”

It has been a different transition for Morelli. She’s not used to playing on a team with classmates, nor on hardcourts.

“It’s completely different in Italy,” Morelli said. “We don’t have sports in school. It was really different and a big adjustment for me.

“I always had a dream to play for a team. We play by ourselves in (Italy) in sanctioned tournaments and you weren’t assured you’d always be playing against a teenager. You could be playing against a 35-year old or 50-year old. It’s a big difference.”

Morelli said she misses the sliding on clay, but she has really enjoyed playing and adjusting her game on the hardcourts, and playing a team sports with girls — and classmates — her own age.

“It’s been amazing and I’m grateful for my teammates. I love them,” she said. “Since my first match, Every time I am here on the court it feels like home.”

The Mt. Vernon players will not be the only Hancock County players in action today at Mt. Vernon.

Greenfield-Central’s No. 1 doubles team of Madison Succaw and Lauren Haffner advanced in the individual sectional tournament.

Winning last week in a team loss to Eastern Hancock, they earned a spot in the individual tournament.

On Tuesday, Succaw and Haffner defeated Tri’s Chloe West and Paige Robertson 6-2, 6-2.

They bounced back from a little adversity in each set. After leading 3-0 in the first, Tri broke serve once to cut it to 3-2. After winning the opening set, Succaw-Haffner trailed 0-2 in the second before winning the final six games.

They will play a team from Northeastern High School today.

“Every once in a while, as expected, the other team is going to change strategies and they’re going to bounce back a little bit,” Greenfield-Central coach Michael Turpin said. “I really like how these girls rose above it and figured out what they needed to do and then took those points all in a row.”