Niles goes 7-0 in winning crown

Published 8:42 am Monday, August 27, 2018

NILES — The Niles volleyball team may have gotten off to a slow start this season, but the Vikings are starting to hit their stride.

After an opening weekend in which Niles went 2-7 at a pair of tournaments, the Vikings were 2-2-1 at the Vicksburg Six Pack Aug. 20.

Niles flipped the switch on Saturday as it went 7-0 to capture the Kalamazoo Loy Norrix Invitational championship.

How dominant were the Vikings on Saturday? At one point, they won 14 consecutive sets and sweep all of its opponents in straight sets.

“I’m incredibly proud of my young team,” said Niles coach Jenny Nate. “They have worked diligently day in and day out at practices to come together as a team and learn to trust each other, have confidence and step into new roles. That hard work paid off today and gave them a glimpse of what they can become and accomplish if they work together one day at a time with total focus and determination. 

I’m excited to see them continue to step up their level of play and learn together and continue to win.”

In pool play, Niles defeated Parchment 25-14 and 25-20, defeated Buchanan 25-7 and 25-16, defeated Kalamazoo Hackett 25-15 and 25-15, defeated Cedar Springs 25-11 and 25-16 before wrapping things up with a 25-8 and 25-9 win over Grand Rapids Ottawa Hills.

In the semifnals, the Vikings swept Loy Norrix 25-19 and 25-9 before sweeping Cedar Springs 25-20 and 25-6 for the title.

Abby Harpenau had a big day at the net with 59 kills and seven blocks. Nikki Nate finished with 39 kills and 11 blocks, while Taylor Bailey had 22 kills and six blocks.

Trystin Schlutt led Niles defensively with 57 digs, while Bianca Pickens had 45 digs and Emelyn Tucker had 32 digs to go along with 122 setting assists, 48 points and 10 aces.

Rachel Moore finished with 47 points and nine aces.

Buchanan ended up 4-3 on the day.

The Bucks (5-5) split with Parchment 19-25 and 25-18, lost to Niles, split with Galesburg-Augusta 19-25 and 25-23, lost to Loy Norrix 27-25 and 25-17, defeated Ottawa Hills 26-24 and 25-11 before defeating Parchment 25-8 and 25-23.

Katie Schau and Ali Mcclaran each had 49 kills, while Mclaran also had eight blocks.

Mcclaran also led the team in digs with 31, while Brooke Atkinson had a team-high 15 aces.

Megan Adkerson finished with 52 setting assists.