Lady Buffs unable to solve Union College

Photo by Kristen Luther
Lindsey Wetherholt sets up a shot at the net for the Lady Buffs.

By Michelle Pope
The Lady Buffaloes' volleyball team dropped three straight sets against the Union College Lady Bulldogs Tuesday night. While Union held a steady scoring range in the low 30s the whole match, the Milligan ladies gradually improved their game with each set, making the Lady Bulldogs struggle for the last win, 32-30.
"The first two games went great," said Union head coach Melissa Hay. "The third game, we broke down a little bit, but we came back and beat them in three, which is always good in a conference game."
Union, 5-0 overall, is 4-0 in the conference after the win over Milligan.
Jessica Reidel led the Lady Bulldogs in kills, knocking 13 down on Milligan's court. Jillian Ender and Lindsay Paulsen followed her with nine kills and six digs each. Amanda Bowling pushed her team to the win with eight digs and 40 assists.
The score of the first set was 30-19 in Union College's favor.
After the 14th serve of the second set, Milligan continued to stay in the game, keeping the score tied at 7-7.
A kill from Union's Jessica Reidel and a block gone awry by Milligan's Tara Earhart and Theresa Butler gave the Bulldogs the lead, which they firmly grasped for the remainder of the set.
Despite several good displays of teamwork on Milligan's side of the net, including a kill from six-foot Morgan Hyatt and a ball tipped over the net by Earhart that found its way down for a kill, Union won the second set with a score of 30-22.
The third set was a constant struggle for the lead between the two teams. Milligan scored first with a failed return by the Lady Bulldogs, but the Lady Buffaloes hit the ball out on the next serve, tying the score and starting a scoreboard trend that persisted throughout the entire match.
After the 19th serve in the game, Earhart tied the score again at 9 with a kill. Milligan proceeded to take the lead after a dig from Joy Dobbs, a well-placed block from Earhart, and a kill from Hyatt.
Union didn't tolerate being behind for long, and Reidel and Sara Moberly helped boost the Lady Bulldogs back into the lead with a kill apiece.
The ladies wrestled the lead back and forth several more times, tying again at 30. Then a failure to return a short Union serve and an out by Milligan gave Union College the two-point lead they needed to end the match, and the score of the final set came to rest at 32-30.
"I feel like the third game, we really played our game," said Milligan head coach Kim Hyatt. "The first two, we were a little slower than what we usually play. I think we played with a slower momentum than what we're used to playing. I don't think that's anybody's fault but our own. We just can't seem to get the rhythm going quicker. The last game though, that's more what we do. We showed them what Milligan is."
Milligan, now 0-3 in the conference, is a team made up of mostly freshmen and sophomores.
Freshman Tara Earhart had two aces and led Milligan in kills with 11, followed by fellow freshman Allison Langrel's seven kills and three blocks. Myra O'Dell led her team with assists, helping her teammates 20 times, and saving them from Bulldog scoring with 10 digs. Dianne Sooter contributed 11 assists, and Morgan Hyatt patrolled the net with three blocks.
Coach Hay recognized the skill in the Milligan players.
"I think they're athletic, but they're young. It's going to take them awhile. Probably toward the end of the season, they'll be a little bit stronger."