Conference run: Niles soccer strings together two wins during Big-16 tourney
By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Before the start of the Big-16 Conference Tournament the Niles soccer team had won just three games all season.
Since the tournament started, however, the Vikings have won two in a row.
Niles beat Harper Creek 4-1 Tuesday afternoon to move into the finals of the loser's bracket, to be held Thursday. Niles will travel to Sturgis for that game, which will determine ninth and 10th places.
Kyle Kidwell spearheaded the Vikings' offense Tuesday, firing numerous shots at Harper Creek goalkeeper Charlie Kelley and scoring on three of them. Kidwell also assisted Evan McCullough's goal.
Kidwell opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the game when Niles goalkeeper Cory Coquillard's punt got past the Harper Creek defenders, giving Kidwell an open look at the goal.
McCullough then headed in a cross from Kidwell in the 31st minute to give the Vikings a 2-0 halftime lead.
Kidwell scored his second goal just seven minutes into the second half on another breakaway.
Harper Creek's lone goal came 19 seconds later when Nick Sharp beat Coquillard.
Finally, Kidwell scored on another breakaway with 12:07 left in the game to finish the scoring.
The win lifted Niles' record to 5-11-1 on the season.
The Vikings outshot the Beavers 11-6 and Coquillard had five saves for Niles.