Valley wins two tourney matches

Tuesday, March 28, 2006
During Saturday's win over St. Ambrose, sophomore Adam Tuifagu (7) led the Vikings with 17 kills.

A two-week break wasn't conducive to sharpness for the Missouri Valley College men's volleyball team, especially with one its toughest league foes ending the hiatus.

Vikings head coach Joan Rickert admitted that "we moved too slowly" early in their MAMVIC West contest Friday at Park, dropping a 30-24, 30-21, 30-28 decision.

The fifth-ranked Pirates (19-5, 8-1 MAMVIC West) used 19 kills from senior Cristian Maciel and 11 hits by freshman Henry Uribe to avenge a five-set loss at Valley last month.

Sophomore Leandro Justen pounded down 18 shots and sophomore Adam Tuifagu and freshman Mirko Jankovic mad 13 attacks between them for the Vikings, who only had 25 digs during the match. It was No. 3 Valley's first league loss in seven outings.

The Vikings went to Davenport, Iowa, the next two to win a pair of three-game sweeps in the St. Ambrose Tournament.

Jankovic and senior David Hoke each had 11 kills and Tuifagu added 10 spikes for Valley, which played without Justen -- its leading attacker -- during a 30-25, 30-14, 36-34 win over 17-11 Warner-Southern (Fla.)

Junior Milos Velimirovic contributed seven hits and three aces, freshman Velislav Danailov provided assists on 27 of the team's 51 kills and junior Kapena Wong chipped in with eight spikes and six saves.

The Vikings defeated the host school, stinging the Fighting Bees (5-16), 30-26, 30-25, 30-25, behind 17 kills from Tuifagu.

Sophomore Stefan Stefanovic had a strong match in the middle with 38 assists and five blocked shots. Jankovic and junior Milos Velimirovic each had nine good attacks, Wong made eight shots and Hoke and freshman Marcus dos Santos each tallied seven. Wong and dos Santos also led with six digs apiece.

With the loss at Park, the Vikings (15-6) are now in a scramble in the West Division, with a key opponent -- Graceland -- coming Wednesday to the Burns Athletic Center.

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