Vikings dominate BCS All-Red Division team

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, December 8, 2020

NILES — The record will show that Niles played in the BCS Athletic Conference Red Division. It will also show that the Vikings dominated its volleyball competition.

Niles went undefeated during the regular season and swept the conference round robin to win the outright BCS Red Division championship.

As a reward for such domination, the Vikings had five players earn first-team All-Red Division, while four of those five went on to be named Division 2 All-Region by the Michigan Interscholastic Volleyball Coaches Association.

Buchanan had a pair of first-team picks, while Brandywine senior Kristen Alvord was both first-team All-Red Division and a Division 3 All-Region selection.

Earning first team honors for Niles were Marika Ruppart, Cadence Knight, Amara Palmer, Jillian Bruckner and Emma Beckman. Buchanan’s first team selections were Katie Schau and Faith Carson.

The Niles volleyball team was also honored by MIVCA by being named Academic All-State, as the Vikings have a team GPA of 3.77.

“It seems like words just don’t seem to do them justice,” said Niles coach Jenny Nate. “They are incredibly special, but as I sit down to write, four words do continuously come to mind: character, grit, energy and determination. They have accomplished so much in 2020.”

Like almost every team in the BCS, the Vikings had to deal with COVID-19 issues. For Niles, the biggest blow came just hours before the team was supposed to play in the Division 2 District semifinals.

“We found out we would be missing various players including two setters,” Nate said. “This team did not complain. They did not pout, and they did not give up. They were in the gym before I could even get out of work and were already working on reps, new positions and various lineup options. They laughed, had positive attitudes and swept the semifinal match.”

Niles was able to overcome Dowagiac, a team that was battling with COVID-19 issues of its own, in the district semifinals, but could not get past three-time defending district champion Edwardsburg, which defeated the Vikings 3-2.

“They fought a five-set battle down to the wire with as much heart, energy and determination as they had on day one of the season,” Nate said. “Although we fell short in the fifth set, this team is a success in every essence of the word.”



First Team

  • Marika Ruppart, Niles
  • Ella O’Sullivan, South Haven
  • Kristen Alvord, Brandywine
  • Cadence Knight, Niles
  • Katie Schau, Buchanan
  • Amara Palmer, Niles
  • Faith Carson, Buchanan
  • Jillian Bruckner, Niles
  • Aleena Keh, South Haven
  • Emma Beckman, Niles
  • Takiya Cornelius, Bridgman


Honorable Mention

  • Olivia Elliott, Berrien Springs
  • Clara Depriest, Brandywine
  • Peyton Oman, Bridgman
  • Kadence Brumitt, Brandywine
  • Julia Kruis, Comstock
  • Jordyn Holland, South Haven
  • Haley Scott, Brandywine
  • Jessy Silva, Berrien Springs
  • Hailey Jonatze, Buchanan
  • Noelle Keene, Comstock
  • Haylee Kanous, Bridgman


Division 2 All-Region

  • Marika Ruppart, Niles
  • Jillian Bruckner, Niles
  • Amara Palmer, Niles
  • Cadence Knight, Niles


Division 3 All-Region

  • Kristen Alvord, Brandywine