The Valley men came in eighth last year with a 10-21 overall record and 5-13 league mark. They return their top two scorers, senior Michael Connor (13.9 points per game) and sophomore Kevin Stander (12.5), but lose their leading rebounds: forwards Matt Baker (5.0 rebounds per game) and Bryan Corley (4.8).
The Lady Vikings were 10-19 overall and 6-12 in the conference, tying for seventh place. Although they lose their leading scorer in guard Hannah Young (11.1 ppg), they return a fourth-year starter in senior guard Sami Jackson -- who tallied 9.4 points per game and paced the team with 4.5 assists per game -- and the top rebounder: junior Eboné Brown (6.8 rpg).
MidAmerica Nazarene got the maximum nine of 10 first-place votes to be installed as the favorite in both the men's and women's race.
The Valley men's soccer team claimed a pair of Heart of America Conference matches, moving up a spot in the NAIA rankings to No. 12.
Junior Miguel Jiminez had two goals and an assist Saturday during a 6-0 home win over Culver-Stockton, earning the league's "player of the week" award. Junior Nicholas Alexander got it started in the 15th minute and junior Alberto Linan-Gomez gave the Vikings a 3-0 halftime lead.
Freshmen Meloulades Mora and Alberto Aguro collected second-half goals for Valley, which got a pair of saves from junior Josh Wells for his second shutout of the season. Freshman Jacob Brauer made six stops for the Wildcats (3-8-1, 0-3 HAAC).
Agurto scored the tying goal and fed the match-winner Tuesday for a 3-2 decision over visiting Central Methodist. Linan-Gomez got Valley on the board in the 16th minute, but senior Muron Altankhuyag tallied twice to put the Eagles (7-4-1, 1-2) in front.
Freshman Raul Beneit snapped the stalemate with 3:45 remaining to hand the win to the Vikings (7-3-1, 2-1), who host Benedictine on Saturday.
The MVC women's soccer squad split two Heart of America Conference home matches over the past week.
Two goals by senior Jessica Yernandez gave the Lady Vikings a lead they wouldn't surrender Saturday during a 4-2 victory over Culver-Stockton. Freshman Cayla Pisciotta gave Valley an insurance goal with 16 minutes remaining, which was needed when the Lady Wildcats (7-4-1, 0-3 HAAC) closed within a goal on a shot by junior Alyssa Houska.
It took only 40 seconds for the Lady Vikings to regain their two-goal lead, sophomore Courtney Devlin connecting.
Central Methodist jumped out to a 2-0 lead and stayed in front the rest of the way Tuesday for a 3-1 decision. Seniors Shawn Beard and Kayla Leeser found the net for the Lady Eagles (7-4, 1-2) before Valley got on the board with nine minutes left when Yernandez fed junior Cecilee Kidd for a goal. Leeser answered 50 seconds later.
The Lady Vikings (7-5, 2-1) will be at home Saturday against Benedictine.
FAYETTE -- Junior Ana Calito and sophomore Megan Hardin each had nine kills Tuesday during the Valley women volleyball team's 25-20, 25-14, 25-20 Heart of America Conference sweep at Central Methodist.
The Lady Vikings enjoyed a .161 to .056 advantage in attack percentage, with junior Jada Hollinshead putting down seven of 19 attempts with only one error. Senior Jessica Gates came up with 19 digs and served a pair of aces and junior Tarrah Sweet assisted 31 of Valley's 37 kills.
The Lady Eagles (5-15, 0-7 HAAC) got seven spikes from sophomore Dana Peters, a St. Paul product.
The Lady Vikings (9-10, 2-4) play Saturday at Avila.