Viking spikers win season-opening tourney

Thursday, January 26, 2012

CINCINNATI -- The Missouri Valley College men's volleyball team began its season over the weekend by winning four matches to take the Mount St. Joseph Tournament title.

The Vikings opened Friday with a 25-17, 25-20, 25-20 sweep of the host team, sophomore Pederson Silva knocking down 10 shots to pace the team's stellar .420 attack percentage. Senior Stephen Valdez had 14 digs and sophomore Will McCracken dropped in three aces.

Later in the day, freshman Caio De Souza had 22 kills and Silva added 19 during a 19-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19, 15-8 victory over King (Tenn.). Freshman Joao Gurgel assisted 54 of Valley's 66 successful attacks.

DeSouza (16), Silva (15) and sophomore Jacob Pederson (14) each recorded double digits in kills Saturday during a 25-16, 26-28, 25-20, 22-25, 15-13 decision over Siena Heights (Mich.). Silva had 12 digs and Pederson added 11 saves and five aces.

The Vikings closed the meet by shutting out Penn State-Behrend, 25-14, 25-20, 25-15, behind 11 kills from Silva. Sophomore Adam Miller and junior Tom Jerrom each had three aces and DeSouza got in on six blocks.

Ninth-ranked Valley took its first loss of the season Wednesday during its home opener against No. 6 MAMVIC West rival Graceland, 21-25, 25-14, 21-25, 25-21, 16-14.

The Vikings (4-1, 0-1 MAMVIC) host Lindenwood-Belleville (Ill.) on Saturday.

Men's Wrestling

DES MOINES -- Grand View won six of eight bouts, three by fall, Tuesday for a 41-9 home win over the Missouri Valley College men's wrestling team.

Grand View (12-0), which placed second Saturday in the MVC Invitational, is the top-ranked team in the latest NAIA poll, while the Vikings are No. 7.

Valley won the first contest as senior all-American Paulie Hansen (125 pounds) pinned junior Alex Peitz in the first period, then in the next-to-last match sixth-ranked sophomore Josh Manu (184) notched an 8-4 decision over senior Will Worthy.

The Vikings (5-3) will head to St. Louis on Thursday for a dual against Maryville.

Track & Field

Iowa native Nathan Christianson has been named as the new head coach of the Valley track and field and cross country programs.

Christianson replaced John Pickens, who resigned in December after seven years at the helm. Christianson is a Southern Indiana graduate who has headed the program at Brescia (Ky.) for over three years, producing 29 national qualifiers.

The Vikings will be on the indoor track Friday at the Principia (Ill.) Relays.

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