UPDATED: Niles dedicates new field with win over Bucks

Published 9:10 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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NILES — Host Niles dedicated its new playing surface at Vikings Stadium with a 6-2 non-conference win over Buchanan Wednesday afternoon.

Niles held a ribbon cutting an hour and a half before the start of the soccer match with the Bucks in sunny, but cold and windy conditions. Niles replaced its original natural grass field with a synthetic turf surface last fall. The original dedication and ribbon cutting last November was canceled by a snow storm.

Niles Community School officials watched again at snow flew Wednesday, but decided to continue with the ceremony and the soccer match as the snow melted well before the scheduled start of the events. (For more on the ribbon cutting, see today’s paper)

The Vikings opened its season Tuesday against Dowagiac and were shut out in the debut of Coach Jaycee Myer.

On Wednesday, Niles took the lessons learned in its first match and applied them against the Bucks, who were playing their first match of the 2023 season.

Buchanan (0-1) scored first as Sutherland Philip found the back of the net off an assist from Evyn Pruett. Niles would respond with three goals to lead 3-1 at halftime.

In the second half, Belle Overmyer scored for the Bucks.

Nyla Hover scored four goals to lead Niles, which squared its record at 1-1. Taya Young and Kelsey Slater had the other goals for the Vikings.

“We played as a team, did a better job at getting the ball to the outside, and found the back of the net.” Myer said. “Big improvements after yesterday.”

Niles goalkeeper Matti Riggenbach had four saves against the Bucks.

Akirrah Robinson had 10 saves for Buchan in her debut in the net.

“We’ve got a really young team, so we’ve got some work to do, but they are working hard to learn more about the game every day,” said Buchanan Coach Russell Philip.

The Vikings return to action Tuesday when they travel to St. Joseph for another non-conference match against former SMAC West Division foe St. Joseph.

Buchanan hit the road Friday as it takes on Our Lady of the Lake in St. Joseph.