Lady Buffs slip past Bryan

By Allen LaMountain

ASST. SPORTS EDITOR
awlamountain@starhq.com

   Under weather conditions best suited for water fowl, the Milligan College Lady Buffaloes sloshed their way to a 2-1 Appalachian Athletic Conference win over Bryan College at rainy Anglin Field on Wednesday evening.
   Milligan (7-2-1, 6-0 conference) got goals from junior striker Bianca Spoto and sophomore mid-fielder Deniece Kitchin and outshot the Lady Lions 8-3 in the second half.
   Milligan owned a 14-8 overall advantage in shots on goal for the match.
   A second-half adjustment by coach Marty Shirley worked to Milligan's advantage as the Lady Buffs went to a 4-4-2 alignment.
   "We changed to the 4-4-2 in order to get more advantages in the mid-field," said Shirley. "That helped us tremendously as it enabled us to dribble into and through the middle."
   Spoto broke through in the 31st minute of the first half on a give and go from Salem Wood that saw Spoto break free to Bryan goalkeeper Myra Morrison's right. Spoto's blast beat Morrison cleanly to her right-hand side and the Lady Buffs led 1-nil.
   The Lady Lions (7-2 overall) responded quickly with the tying tally as Spoto put on a shot on the Bryan goal that was cleared by defender Holly Holcombe to the left side. Alicia Schulz dribbled in from the center of the field and sent a ball into the Milligan goal box where Abby Snead directed it home.
   "She is the top scorer in the conference," said Bryan head coach Marc Neddo. "Milligan did a nice job holding her to one goal. She has been a big part of our offense, and it was good that she got an early goal. But we were out-manned tonight and Milligan did a nice job defensively."
   Early in the second half the Lady Buffs responded to the change in shape issued by Coach Shirley, and Kitchin used a nifty crossing pass by Amanda White to charge into the middle of the Bryan College goal box and put a low blast past Morrison to her left side, giving Milligan a 2-1 lead.
   "Deniece has been playing outside, but we started to overlap her in the middle," said Shirley. "Bryan plays a very good trap and we didn't play smart very in the first half. It was much better in the second half. Deniece has a nice shot, but sometimes gets too timid to shoot."
   She wasn't shy or timid about shooting the rest of the way as she had two more quality shots on goal with one shot clanging off the top post after a breakaway in the middle just short of the mid-field stripe.
   The other was a left-footed shot that had cue-ball English on it and moved left-to-right like a slider, but Morrison made a sliding stop to turn that attempt away.
   Late in the second half Spoto injured her left leg and left the field, but Shirley said, "It was more precautionary than anything taking Bianca out."
   Shirley was impressed with the Lady Lions effort as well, saying: "Bryan has really improved. We used to have our way with them, but not anymore as you can tell by the score."