Busy day for Lady Buffaloes

star staff

  It was a full day of volleyball action for the Lady Buffaloes on Saturday at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse, with four different teams doing battle.
  Milligan went 1-2 on the day after defeating North Greenville (S.C.) and dropping matches to Cumberland College and Martin Methodist.
  The Lady Buffs started off the day with a victory in three out of four sets over North Greenville.
  The first two sets went to Milligan by scores of 30-23 and 30-20.
  North Greenville managed to grab the third set 30-16, but the Buffaloes finished the game with a close decision in the fourth and final game, 30-28.
  "I felt like we played really well our first match today, and we played well all the way through today," said Milligan coach Kim Hyatt. "For our youth, I think they did a fine job."
  Amanda Hyder and Tara Earhart totaled 16 kills apiece for Milligan, which got 47 assists from Jamie Sly. Hyder and Beth Snapp had 10 digs each, with freshman Allison Slagle and Earhart both coming up with five aces.
  Cumberland College was next on the list for Milligan, as they were tied at one set apiece after the first two games.
  Milligan dropped the first set in a 30-23 final, but rebounded in the second set to win by a final of 30-27.
  Cumberland captured the next two set with a final of 30-27 and 30-15, as the Buffaloes had trouble in matching up with the height around the net.
  Sly manufactured 36 assists against Cumberland, with Earhart combining 15 kills with four aces. Snapp had 10 digs.
  The same problem with height persisted in their meeting with Martin Methodist.
  Milligan gave a gutsy performance, but the play of the big hitters around the net was difficult to matchup with.
  "The girls played good in stretches, but I don't think we're playing our best volleyball right now," said Martin Methodist assistant coach John Hunter. "We have some very prolific attackers, and we're trying to find a way to have a more balanced attack right now."
  The Buffaloes dropped all three sets to Martin Methodist, but they still had a good showing in the last two games against the only team that was undefeated on the evening.
  "I think the communication will improve as we go along, and everybody is stepping up," Hyatt said. "With the last matches, it was different than what we've seen, but that will help us on down the road."
  An early lead of 7-5 evaporated for Milligan, as the two tall Brazilians, Fabiana Lima and Fabiola Nepomueno, had several kills for Martin Methodist.
  After going on a 14-3 run, the Buffaloes found themselves too far behind in the contest, with the first set ending 30-17.
  Milligan did a much better job in their second match game Martin Methodist, leading several times throughout the game.
  An early lead of 4-1 was the reminiscence of a couple of blocks at the net by Earhart.
  A good job with setting up the hitters from Sly enabled Lindsey Wetherholt and Megan Clooney to score on kills, giving Milligan a 17-14 advantage.
  "We were definitely outmatched but we fought hard and played strong, so I'm really impressed with our play," said Wetherholt. "We fought our way all the way through, and I'm proud of our performance because we picked it up at the end."
  Martin Methodist rolled off the next six scores to take a three point lead, as Jacqueline Gilchrist set up Nepomueno on the kill for a 20-17 lead.
  An ace serve from the senior Wetherholt and kill from Earhart tied the contest at 22-22, and after a hit and score was executed by Alyssa Graber the Buffaloes found themselves with the lead once again.
  "I'm looking forward to everything and enjoying my last season here, so it's great," said Wetherholt. "The girls are wonderful and it's a step above last year."
  Milligan's luck ran out toward the end, as Martin Methodist went on a 7-1 run with Andreia Bonanno scoring the last two points off the serve.
  In the third and final set, Milligan fell too far behind in the early going.
  Martin Methodist built an 19-7 lead in the first part of the game, but a scrappy Milligan club came back to make a good showing.
  A score off the serve and a dig from Wetherholt broke the Buffalo drought, as they tried to slowly creep back into the contest.
  Sly set up a reach coming from Earhart to cut the deficit to under 10 points.
  "When we come up against big teams all we have to do is make sure we're ready play defense and talk, because communication is very important," said Sly. "It's been a lot of fun so far, and it's a lot different from high school. It's a fast-paced tempo, and that's what we're working on, how to become fast."
  Wetherholt took over as the setter late in the game, as she placed the ball for Graber, who connected on a kill to pull Milligan within four points at 28-24.
  Wetherholt, Snapp and Earhart each served two aces. Sly contributed 13 assists and seven digs while Earhart had 17 kills.
  This was as close as they came with a hit and score coming from Lima and a missed kill from the Buffaloes Lindsay Easter.
  "I'm very happy with their performance, and you want to win, but we are very young and still are learning some things," said Hyatt. "We got everybody some playing time, and now we'll try to get everybody ready for the conference matches next week."
  Next for the Lady Buffs is a key Applachian Athletic Conference matchup at rival King (Tenn.) College Tuesday evening at 6:30. The next home match for Milligan will be Thursday evening against Montreat (N.C.) College at 6:30.