Niles gets offensive in defense of title

Published 10:02 am Sunday, May 21, 2023

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NILES — Host Niles used an offensive explosion to successfully defending its VanDenBerg Invitational Soccer Tournament title Saturday.

The Vikings, who defeated Buchanan 5-1 for the 2021 championship, defeating rival Brandywine 6-1 in the semifinals and then blanked Dowagiac 5-0 in the title match.

The 2022 tournament was canceled due to weather.

“We showed up with intensity today,” said Niles Coach Jaycee Myer said. “We focused on the little details and playing our game. Played to our full potential, communicated and played as a team.”

In its win over the Bobcats, Nyla Hover had three goals, while Kelsey Slater added a pair of goals. Gabby Knight had the other goal for Niles.

Morgan Hooper had a pair of assists, while Maddison Brook, Tori Yates and Amity Riggenbach also picked up assists.

The Chieftains advanced to the finals with a come-from-behind 4-2 win over Buchanan in the other semifinal Saturday.

Trailing 2-1 at halftime, Dowagiac got a pair of goals from Faith Green, including one on a penalty kick that tied the match at 2-2. Green’s second goal sealed the victory for the Chieftains.

In the championship match, Hover had two more goals, while Brook, Slater and Yates also found the back of the net. Mary Saylor and Slater were credited with assists.

The Bucks defeated Brandywine 5-1 in the consolation match.