Bobcats begin title defense against Panthers Monday

NILES — Defending district champion Brandywine will host the Division 3 tournament beginning Monday.

The Bobcats (42-5) will face Watervliet in the opening round at 5:30 p.m.

Hartford and Eau Claire will play in the second match at approximately 7 p.m. Monday.

The winner of the Brandywine-Watervliet match will advance Bangor, which received an opening round bye, in the first semifinal at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Bridgman awaits the Hartford-Eau Claire winner in the second semifinal at approximately 7 p.m. Wednesday.

The championship match is set for 7 p.m. on Thursday.

The Bobcats are playing with co-coaches since the resignation of Janet Markunas last Wednesday.

In order to be successful and defend its championship, Brandywine must stay healthy and aggressive according to co-coach Sarah Hunt-Dye.

“We need to serve tough, stay aggressive on offense and win long rallies,” she said. “We need to be healthy, both mentally and physically.”

Division 3 district at Marcellus

CASSOPOLIS — The Casssopolis Rangers will open up the Division 3 volleyball postseason with a bye in the Marcellus district.

The Rangers will face Centreville, which recently swept Cassopolis 3-0 in Southwest 10 Conference play, in the semifinals at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The Bulldogs also received a first-round bye.

In the other half of the bracket, host Marcellus will face Constantine at 6 p.m. Monday with the winner advancing to the semifinals to face White Pigeon, which received a bye, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The championship match is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at Marcellus High School.

Admission is $5 and no league passes will be accepted per the MHSAA.

Niles volleyball

The Niles volleyball team tuned up for Saturday’s SMAC Tournament at Kalamazoo Central with a match against Class A power house Gull Lake Tuesday night.

The Vikings were swept by the ranked (honorable mention) Blue Devils 25-20, 25-15 and 25-13.

“Gull Lake has a strong program and we always look forward to heading to their place to compete the week before districts in order to prepare,” said Niles coach Jenny Nate. “We came out flat in the first set, but made a great comeback. But then we couldn’t get any runs going after that first set. Energy is going to be one of our key components moving forward. We have to have it and will make sure we get the girls on the court who are going to play with energy, chemistry, court presence, and hustle.”

Niles heads into the SMAC Tournament with a first-round bye before taking on conference power Portage Central in the second round.

“We are looking forward to a big day before we head to districts next week,” Nate said.

Senior Abbie Harpenau finished with 11 kills, five blocks and three points.

Taylor Bailey had nine kills and eight digs, while Nikki Nate finished with seven kills, six blocks and five digs.

Emelyn Tucker had 33 assists, 12 points, five aces and 18 digs.

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