By Noah Dalton
MITCHELL – Mitchell High School picked up another win of the season on Tuesday in a 3-0 victory over West Washington.
This win was the Bluejackets’ 19th of the season, as well as head coach Scott Saunders’ 501st career varsity victory, with his 500th coming the previous weekend with a 2-0 defeat of Corydon Central.
Saunders was honored before Tuesday’s contest, celebrating the coach’s career milestone.
“It was special. I didn’t know they were going to do anything tonight. We had a little celebration at the game on Saturday, the team did, which was very nice of them,” said Saunders.
“I got here and started looking around, I was like, ‘Okay, there’s people here that aren’t normally here. They’re up to something.’ So, I appreciate greatly the Mitchell athletic department, and the parents and fans honoring that. I said I didn’t win 500 games, my players won 500 games over the years. It’s because of that. Good kids, good parents, good administration, good assistant coaches, and I’ve been doing it a long time and obviously, we’ve been pretty successful at it. It’s nice, but the memories of those 500 are more important than the battle. So, I think that’s how I look at it. The kids and the players you have, they make it special.”
Mitchell won the game with a consistent performance throughout, taking the first set 25-15, winning the second 25-1, and closing out the sweep with a 25-13 victory in set three.
“I wasn’t upset with anything, I wasn’t overly thrilled with everything. I thought we were pretty consistent, but I don’t know that we ever really got excited and really got cranking it a little bit until that last game,” Saunders said of his team’s performance against the Senators.
“Overall, I was happy with our play because we never went into a valley and we’ve had some games this year where we’ve been going into that valley, so to speak, but here we were pretty steady and then I think we ratcheted up just a little bit as we went forward there, which was good.”
Leading the charge for the Bluejackets were Jocelyn Allen, who finished with nine kills and Gracyn Thompson, who led the team with 10 kills. Allen also tallied four aces, tying her with Brooke Reynolds, who also had four, for the most on the team against West Washington. Reynolds added a block to her final stat line, along with two each from Thompson and Jillian Bond.
With a strong 19-7 record to this point, as well as a 3-1 record in Patoka Lake Athletic Conference play, Mitchell is nearing the end of the regular season, with just a handful of remaining games before sectionals begin on Oct. 10.
The Bluejackets will play in the Henryville group, with potential matchups on the horizon against Austin, Brownstown-Central, Clarksville, Eastern (Pekin), Henryville and Paoli.
Saunders expects the team to use their final matchups of the regular season over the next few weeks, as well as practices, to ramp up preparations for post-season play in hopes of making a championship push.
“I think we’re getting closer. I think we’ve still got work to do. I think that’s one of the last things I said to the team right there, ‘Hey, solid tonight. We’ve got you got a big weekend coming up. A couple of really good games in Trinity Lutheran, Jennings County, and New Washington over there. So, we’ve got three tough games. We got a couple of days to practice, to kind of get going.’ I told them we need to use the last part of the season, especially as just preparation for sectionals,” he said.
“It’s practice it’s intense practices and that’s how we need to look at it. So, I think if we can do that, we’ll give ourselves an opportunity when it gets sectional time.”