Niles wins VanDenBerg Invitational

Published 8:53 am Monday, May 16, 2016

The Niles soccer team defeated Brandywine 2-1 to capture the VanDenBerg Invitational title Saturday. (Submitted photo)

The Niles soccer team defeated Brandywine 2-1 to capture the VanDenBerg Invitational title Saturday. (Submitted photo)

The Dr. Phillip J. VanDenBerg Trophy resides at Niles High School thanks to a pair of tournament victories Saturday, by the Lady Vikings.

After beating Buchanan 2-1 at home in the morning, Niles crossed town and bested Brandywine 2-1 for the title in the afternoon.

“We did a really good job of working the ball to the outside and feeding it back in,” Niles coach Katie Czirr after her team’s two victories on a cold, damp and windy day. “Overall, we do a very nice job of tightening up in our back line. A lot of times we can pull in offside traps which work beautifully for us.

“Today, we were really able to capitalize using our space in the field and getting our wide midfielders (Chelsea Best, Mackenzie Hall, Ashley Thompson and Jenny Walters) out wide.”

Also marking against Brandywine’s speedy attack were Jaycee Myer and Delayne Mudd.

Best and Myer are captains of the 3-8 squad.

Niles went up 1-0 in the 28th minute on an Emily Gaines goal assisted by Best. The Vikings’ second goal came via a breakaway by Marissa Kerr.

Brandywine (8-4-1) got on the board an Alexia Garcia goal off a right-side corner kick by Cassie Luczkowski in the 56th minute.

The tournament featured matches with two 30-minute halves and no overtime. A shootout would have been used if it had been necessary.

The Bobcats advanced to the VanDeBerg Invitational championship by blanking visiting Cassopolis 4-0.

“I like that we didn’t give up (against Niles) even though we were down 2-0,” Brandywine coach Evan Winkler said. “We almost came back and tied it up at the end.

“We had a few mental breakdowns and they capitalized on those. We created a lot of opportunities. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get another goal in.”

Starting Niles goalkeeper Ayvion James made 11 saves, including several off the football of speedy Bobcats forward Jaleesa Garner. Bailee Kessler spelled James in the 48th minute and made two saves of her own.

Brandywine keeper Sloan Kangas stopped six shots.

In the consolation match, Buchanan



At Niles and Brandywine


Niles 2, Brandywine 1

Halftime score

Niles 1, Brandywine 0


First half

N — Emily Gaines (Chelsea Best assist) 28th minute.


Second half

N — Marissa Kerr (unassisted) 38th.

B — Alexis Garcia (Cassie Luczkowski) 56th.


Shots on goal

Brandywine 15, Niles 12.



Niles — Ayvion James 11, Bailee Kessler 2; Sloan Kangas 6.


Corner kicks

Brandywine 4, Niles 1.

Varsity records: Niles 3-8, Brandywine 8-4.


First round

Niles 2, Buchanan 1


Halftime score

Niles 2, Buchanan 0.


First half

N — Emily Gaines (Chelsea Best assist) 10th minute.

N — Ashley Thompson (Gaines) 21st.


Second half

B — Savannah Ehlert (Erica Mitchell) 36th.


Shots on goal

Niles 10, Buchanan 8



Niles — Ayvion James 8; Buchanan — Mad Schau 5.


Niles 4, Buchanan 1.


Brandywine 4, Cassopolis 0

Halftime score

Brandywine 3, Cassopolis 0


First half

B — Jaleesa Garner (Cassie Luczkowski) 5th minute.

B — Alexia Martinez (Luczkowski) 13th.

B — Garner (unassisted) 13th.


Second half

B — Grace Rydewski (Martinez) 34th.


Shots on goal

Brandywine 18, Cassopolis 2.



Brandywine — Sloan Kangas 2; Cassopolis — Cassie Pflug and Madison Suseland 14.


Brandywine 6, Cassopolis 0.


Consolation match

Buchanan 9, Cassopolis 1


Buchanan goals

Erica Mitchell 5, Jessica Lee 2, Savannah Ehlert, Cora Schau.


Buchanan assists

Jasmine Dougherty

• Mitchell now has 24 goals on the season. The Buchanan school record is 25.