Niles makes two quick goals stand up against Dowagiac
Visiting Niles made a pair of Chelsea Best goals stand up in a 2-1 win over Dowagiac in the season opener for both teams.
Best scored back-to-back goals in the early going off assists from Miya Steele and Hannah Beckwith.
Dowagiac cut the lead to 2-1 on a goal by Kellyn Daly, but the Chieftains would not be able to get the equalizer.
Bailee Kessler had five saves for the Vikings, who will host Bridgman at 5 p.m. today.
Dowagiac got 10 saves from Grace Younger, who returned to the net for the first time since being injured at the end of last season.
“I felt really good, but tiring,” Younger said. “I’m sore. I was nervous. I missed the ball. I just loved being back with my teammates. The hardest part was sliding. I’m still pretty nervous about that.”
Dowagiac coach Ryan Haines knew his team just needed to settle down. Once it did, the Chieftains played much better.
“The first 13 minutes I think was a lot of butterflies,” he said. “But once we settle down and we got the feel of the game they started doing some good things.
“She battles for us. She does a good job for us and she made a lot of good saves today.”
First-year Niles coach Katie Czirr saw some good things and some things the Vikings need to work on.
“Finishing is what we need to work on a little bit more, but we did a really nice job working the ball from the back, bringing it down field and making some plays. I really liked how our offense is becoming more creative and creating different passes and runs that allowed opportunities for shots on goals.
“The one thing I would like to work on a bit more is our transition. When we do need to make switches and covering on plays is where we need the work.”
NILES 2, DOWAGIAC 1
Niles 2, Dowagiac 1
N – Chelsea Best
D – Kellyn Daly
Niles 5 (Bailee Kessler)
Dowagiac 10 (Grace Younger)
Varsity records: Niles 1-0, Dowagiac 0-1