Niles volleyball downs Three Rivers 3-1 in Wolverine Conference tilt

Published 12:55 am Friday, September 17, 2021

NILES — The Niles volleyball team continued its winning ways at home against Three Rivers.

The Vikings defeated the Wildcats 25-12, 25-10, 26-28, 25-18 in Wolverine Conference play Thursday night.

“We’re excited,” said Niles Coach Jenny Nate. “It’s a conference win. I liked the energy that we came out with. We played very clean, aggressive ball across the board in every aspect of the game.”

After winning the first two sets by comfortable margins, the Vikings found tough sledding against the Wildcats in the third set. Niles trailed by as many as seven points before rallying to tie the game at 24-24 before falling.

The Vikings (23-6, 4-0 Wolverine) regrouped in the fourth set, jumping out to an 18-8 lead before a 7-0 Three Rivers run trimmed Niles’ lead to three. Niles responded with a 7-3 run to put the game away.

“In the first two sets, the energy was hopping,” Nate said. “The girls were really working together. Nothing hit the floor. All of our hitters were on, our serves were on and our defense was on. In that third set, we came out and just let off the gas a little bit. The energy came down and when you do that, you make a couple of mistakes here and there and they kind of catapult and Three Rivers, they’ve got some strong hitters, so we need all the energy we can get.

“So they’d have to come right back, fight and bring that energy hard in the fourth set, and that’s what they did. That’s what they’re really good at.”

According to Nate, veteran leadership has been a key aspect of the team’s success.

“The thing about these girls is, and I say this all the time, they’re such amazing people,” she said. “They’re intelligent and they get it done in the classroom. They work together, they’re positive, they’re kind and when you all have all of that plus athletic skill, they become this ultimate kind of positive energy.”

With a win in tow, the Vikings remain unbeaten in Wolverine Conference play.

“I think we’re right where we need to be,” Nate said. “Every day we regroup and we face the next opponent. That’s it, you know, it’s the next opponent, it’s the next point and all of our efforts are gonna go right there. So it’s just one day at a time. One point at a time, playing big and making sure we go to practice that we keep improving every day. We never get complacent. We’ve got to keep getting stronger and keep adding our game.”