By Steven Kochersperger
We have all heard it said, or have told our own children, that one of the most important aspects of playing any sport is having fun. One thing that is undeniable about the Mount Vernon volleyball team is that this team is having a lot of fun as the season goes on.
“We are having fun,” Wildcat coach Andi Allford says. “This team has a great chemistry and work well together. We like to work hard and play hard which makes it fun.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the Wildcats continue to win and are putting together a season to remember. The great chemistry and hard work were all evident Tuesday evening as the Wildcats played host to the Gibson Southern Titans. The Titans gave the Wildcats a fight, especially in the second set, but Mount Vernon was able to battle through for their third straight win with set scores of 25-16, 25-21, 25-11.
The Wildcats got off to a fast start in the first set and found themselves up 11-5 midway through. Just as the Titans began to gain momentum the Cats were able to respond and never allowed Gibson Southern to close in again. Senior Jaycee Ritzert came up big in the first set, and throughout the game, with kills at times to stop the momentum of the Titans. Ritzert ended up leading the game with 13 kills.
It was in the second set that the Wildcats found themselves in a battle with the Titans. After falling behind early 4-2 in the set, the lady Cats fought back to tie the score at 5. From there it was a back and forth fight that saw each team trade point for point until the score was knotted at 11.
And just when Mount Vernon found themselves down two points, senior Wildcat Sarah Duckworth stepped up to serve seven straight points before putting a serve in the net. It gave the Lady Cats the cushion they needed as they cruised to the set win 25-21.
The third set would be more of the same in the beginning but all Wildcats by the end. After yet again finding themselves down early in the set, the Cats made a run and finished off the Titans 25-11.
When asked what has been making the difference for this Wildcat volleyball team, coach Allford says its team play. “I’m proud to be able to say this they are a team and play as a team,” Allford said. “Every girl contributes to our success and makes it work.”
Among those contributing Tuesday was Senior Megan Martin. Martin led the way in assists with a season high 40 assists. Junior Livia Hopper and Freshman Alexis Nall both ended up with 11 blocks while Sarah Duckworth had a team high 16 digs for the Cats.
The rest of the week went just as well for the Wildcats. After beating conference foe Mt. Carmel on the road Thursday, the Wildcats set their eyes firmly on another conference opponent, Washington.
On Saturday Washington came to Mount Vernon and found out for themselves how tough an opponent the Lady Cats can be. Mount Vernon beat Washington 25-12, 25-16, 25-12. With that win Mount Vernon clinched the 2012 Big Eight Conference championship.
“This was one of our goals that we set at the beginning of the season,” Allford said after clinching the conference championship. “It’s always rewarding to accomplish those goals.”
The Wildcats have an overall record of 20-3, a conference championship, and high hopes as they enter into their final weeks of the regular season and then into sectional play. How far can this team go? The sky is the limit for this team.