Leader photo/JOSEPH WEISER Niles’ Courtney Nixon bumps a ball forward in the Vikings’ Big 16 West Division match against No. 2-ranked Mattawan Wednesday. (Leader photo/JOSEPH WEISER)

Archived Story

Vikings push No. 2 Wildcats to the limit

Published 10:48pm Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Niles volleyball team nearly pulled off the one of the greatest wins in its history Wednesday night as it gave the No. 2-ranked Mattawan Wildcats everything they could handle and then some in a five set heartbreaking loss at home.

Niles first year coach Jenny Nate was saddened by the loss, but said she was proud of her team’s gritty performance.

“Everyone gave it their absolute all. They have never played with so much heart before. I am so proud of them,” she said.

The Vikings came out early with a lot of energy and firing on all cylinders, taking the first set of the match 25-19. Niles showed a very balanced attack, with four different players recording at least 11 kills.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, the Wildcats’ senior combination of middle blocker Allie Havers and setter Amanda Mohney proved to be too much of a force for the Vikings to overcome. The pair powered Mattawan to a 25-17 second-game victory and were the keys to sparking the rally that eventually spelled the end of Niles’ upset bid.

After winning the third set 25-20, the Vikings found themselves up 9-4 in the fourth and playing very well. However, the 6-foot-3 Havers and her partner, Mahoney, found their rhythm after a Wildcat timeout and with Havers recording 10 kills and four blocks and Mahoney recording 18 assists throughout the remainder of the match. Havers would end up with with 24 kills and seven blocks, while Mahoney finished with 39 assists.

Miranda Baker paced the Vikings with 16 kills and seven blocks of her own. Kierra Fillwock, Lashonda Greene and Ashley Love each had 11 kills and setter Cortney Shirrell had 30 assists for the Vikings.

Nate was adamant her team did some growing and will take a few things away from this loss.

“This was a tough one for us, but we’ll remember it and we will learn from it,” Nate said. “We will get them next time.”

The Vikings return to action Tuesday when they travel to face Mishawaka at 7:30 p.m.

 

Mattawan d. Niles 3-2

Statistics

Assists: Cortney Shirrell (Niles) 30

Amanda Mohney (Mattawan) 39

Kills: Miranda Baker (Niles) 16,

Allie Havers (Mattawan) 24

Blocks: Baker (Niles) 7

Havers (Mattawan) 7

Digs: Shirrell (Niles) 10

Kyla Nickrent (Mattawan) 13

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