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Niles wins undisputed BCS Athletic Conference crown

NILES — Let the record show that the Niles volleyball team dominated the BCS Athletic Conference in its one and only season in the league.

The Vikings went 6-0 in regular-season matches and then swept the conference round robin on Saturday to claim the undisputed championship.

“These girls accomplished one of their big goals of the season today,” said Niles coach Jenny Nate. “They put a 2020 conference championship on the Niles volleyball banner that hangs in the NHS gym for the second time in school history. Throughout the season, and today, I have made the team stop and look up at that banner hanging on the wall and remind them of their mission. I tell them to picture a 2020 in the conference championship section of the banner. Today, they accomplished their goal.”

The Vikings hosted Buchanan and South Haven on Saturday in what was supposed to be the BCS Conference Tournament. Last Thursday, Brandywine and Bridgman canceled their conference match due to precautions schools have been talking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Neither participated in the league meet.

Niles (19-11) defeated Buchanan 25-17, 25-12 in the opening round before the Rams knocked off the Bucks in the second round, 13-25, 25-19 and 25-23. Niles then locked up the tournament title with a 25-20 and 25-21 win over South Haven.

“This team has incredible work ethic,” Nate said. “They are playing and practicing as hard and harder than they did on day one of our preseason in the sand back in June. I have watched them work in the pouring rain on a beach court, drag pom poms out of their bags match after match to make our bench into their own cheering section, and take care of each other on and off the court. They are a true team in every essence of the word, and I can’t wait to watch them step on the court Monday, look up at that banner again, and begin to focus on the district championship section and get back to work.”

The Vikings were once again led by their net play and solid defense.

Jillian Brucknear, Amara Palmer and Marika Rupparet combined for 30 kills and 11 blocks. Defensively, Cadence Knight, Laura Golubski and Amelia Florkowski combined for 39 digs.

Emma Beckman also had a big day with 30 assists, six kills, 10 points and an ace.

Niles travels to Marshall today for a Quad.

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