Bobcats 2-1 at Vicksburg Quad, Niles and Chieftains struggle

Published 8:18 am Tuesday, August 22, 2023

VICKSBURG — Out of the three local volleyball teams competing in Tuesday’s Vicksburg Mini-Round Robin Tournament, Brandywine continued its strong start while Niles and Dowagiac keep striving to iron out a few early-season kinks.

Brandywine, now 8-2 overall, finished with a 2-1 mark in the seven-team field.

Emily Zablocki-Kohler’s Bobcats began the day by beating Lawton 25-7, 25-7. Brandywine, fresh off a team title in the Coloma Invitational, then fell to Lakeshore 23-25, 15-25 before finishing the night off with a 25-18, 25-18 win over St. Joseph.

“Tonight, we served tougher than we have in our past matches and we were more consistent,” she said. “Our defense stepped up and covered additional areas of the court tonight. Our blocking continues to improve and we are getting more and more touches as the season progresses.”

Brandywine was led by senior outside hitter Kadence Brumitt with four service aces, 19 kills, eight digs and four blocks.

The Bobcats’ senior setter Ellie Knapp accumulated 37 assists to go with six aces and 14 digs, while senior defensive specialist Nevaeh Mason had two aces and 10 digs.

Kallie Solloway, Brandywine’s other senior outside hitter, tossed in nine kills to go with 11 digs. Chloe Park, also a senior, finished with 11 digs defensively and seniors Julia Babcock and Tressa Hullinger had three blocks apiece.

Niles, 1-0-2 in the tournament, continues to struggle as the Vikings endure a busy week with four matches in five days.

“It was another slow night for us,” said Niles Coach Samantha Zimmerman. “We are struggling to find energy on the court and it is really affecting our level of play. Our opening schedule has us playing four matches in five days and it’s been hard to refocus each day.

“We have a lot that we need to work on and with no practices in between all our games, it’s been a challenge. We have lot of potential, but we’re still trying to figure out the best way to work together as a team. We’ll keep working on it today when we travel to Hamilton for a quad.”

Niles had a solid attack at the net led by Bree Lake with 19 kills. Nyla Hover added 16, while Kendall Gerdes posted nine and Tanaya Brown eight.

Kaydence Jacobs recorded eight aces for the Vikings, now 6-3-3 overall, while Amelia Florkowski, Neriah Stephens and Rylee Grishaber all tossed in three.

Jacobs also had 30 assists followed by Grishaber with 19.

Florkowski stood out defensively with 25 digs followed by Hover with 19 and Lake contributed 14.

Stephens also had three blocks and Zyon Brazo two.

Dowagiac, now 3-1-4 on the season, split all three of its matches.

Amber Todd’s Chieftains earned splits with Lakeshore 17-25, 25-22; Vicksburg 7-25, 25-20 and Niles 25-24, 15-25.

“Tonight, our team struggled to communicate on the court and it showed in our serving, serve receive, and on defense,” Todd said. “Our team has so much fight and wants to win, but we have to continue to work on cutting down on unforced errors and keeping the ball in play. Every set we played tonight had ups and downs. I am proud of this team for pushing through and taking one set from each team we competed against. Marlie Carpenter did a fantastic job transitioning to the outside hitting position. We are hoping to reset and come out ready to play on Wednesday.”

Abbey Dobberstein posted 11 kills for Dowagiac, while Tessa Deering, Maggie Weller and Carpenter all added 10 apiece. Riley Todd had two kills and Brooklyn Smith one.

Smith added three aces from the service line, while Carpenter and Weller contributed two each. Brenna Mott, Dobberstein, Zabrina Shivers and Alexandria Gasca all had one.

Smith, Dowagiac’s senior setter, finished with 34 assists. Hanah McCuddy added three, while Mott and Tessa Deering had one each.

Deering stood out for the Chieftains on the defensive side as well with a team-high 12 digs. Carpenter added 10, Dobberstein eight, while Smith, Mott, Gasca and Weller had four apiece. Emerson finished with three digs, Shivers two and McCuddy and Riley Todd added one each.

Weller and Riley Todd put up five blocks apiece. Dobberstein added 2.5, while Smith and Deering both had one.