Niles takes over first place in SMAC West
Published 8:53 am Thursday, October 8, 2015
For the first time in four years, the Niles volleyball team got the better of Portage Central.
The Vikings defeated the Mustangs 25-18, 16-25, 25-19 and 25-19 to snap the first place tie atop the SMAC West Division standings Wednesday night.
The win was especially sweet for the senior class, which was honored before the start of their final home match.
It was that class which defeated Portage Central in the SMAC Tournament four years ago.
“It was senior night and my team was on a mission,” Niles coach Jenny Nate said. “They set the goal to beat Portage Central, break our tie for first and play for each other and they accomplished that goal. Our practices have been intense, and my players knew that they would have to prepare both mentally and physically every second we are in the gym in order to beat the powerhouse teams.”
While it may have been senior night, a pair of underclassmen played key roles in the victory.
Junior Nola Wallace was a monster at the net as she finished with five blocks and four kills.
Sophomore Bella Rasler was also outstanding with 21 points, 12 kills, 15 digs and a block.
The win moves Niles into sole possession of first place with matches against St. Joseph and Lakeshore still to come.
“Tonight, we are going to celebrate, but tomorrow we will head back to practice in order to prepare for our next match and set our next goals,” Nate said.
The Vikings are now 27-6 on the year and 3-0 in the SMAC West.
Niles will face St. Joseph Oct. 14 and Lakeshore Oct. 21.
NILES 3, PORTAGE CENTRAL 1
Niles d. Portage Central 25-18, 16-25, 25-19 and 25-19
Bella Rasler 21 points, 1 ace
Kelsey Barton 8 points, 3 aces
Bre Love 8 points, 1 ace
Peyton Cavanaugh 7 points, 1 ace
Holly Walker 4 points, 1 ace
Carly Barton 3 points
Kelsey Barton 12
Bella Rasler 12
Lexi Smith 6
Jazmin Brann 5
Nola Wallace 4
Carly Barton 2
Nola Wallace 5
Kelsey Barton 4
Bella Rasler 1
Jazmin Brann 1
Bre Love 24
Bella Rasler 15
Holly Walker 12
Kelsey Barton 8
Carly Barton 7
Lexi Smith 5
Kelsey Barton 20
Carly Barton 17
Varsity record: Niles 27-6, 3-0 SMAC West