Vikings struggle at loaded Big 16 Conference tourney

Published 7:06 am Monday, March 1, 2004

By By DAN WEISS / Niles Daily Star
Portage Central beat St. Joseph 15-8, 9-15, 15-7 in the championship match at Saturday's Big 16 Conference Tournament, held at Portage Northern High School.
St. Joseph, ranked No. 4 in Class B in today's coaches' poll, beat the Mustangs, which are ranked No. 6 in Class A, last week in a conference crossover match.
Niles went 1-3 on the day and finished 14th overall. The Vikings opened the day with a 15-1, 15-1 loss to Coldwater, which is ranked No. 5 in Class B. Niles then suffered a 15-11, 15-11 loss to Loy Norrix before beating Benton Harbor 15-6, 15-5. The Vikings wrapped up the day with a 15-8, 15-9 loss to Kalamazoo Central.
Foster was impressed with Coldwater, one of four teams currently ranked in the Top 10 in either Class A or Class B.
The Vikings bounced back and got an early lead against Loy Norrix before losing momentum.
Niles, which is 18-21-11 overall, got 19 kills and five aces from Sarah Dreher.
Rachael Every had 14 kills, five blocks and 17 digs while Melissa Olsen added 13 kills and two blocks.
Amber Peters had a team-high 26 digs to go along with four aces. Sandy Molnar had 56 assists, four aces and one block. Kayla Copper also added a block.