Buffs take wind out of Tornado

By Wes Holtsclaw
star staff

  BRISTOL--Last season in a key conference battle, the Milligan College Buffaloes didn't quite do what they wanted against their biggest rival.
  They didn't make the same mistake this year.
  In men's soccer action Wednesday, the Buffs (4-4, 2-1 AAC) climbed out to a quick lead and nearly shut out the King College Tornado at Parks Field, winning 5-1.
  "We anticipated that they would probably put a little pressure on us," said Milligan coach Marty Shirley of King. "Coming out, we wanted to use our speed."
  "It's a big conference match that sets you up for the playoffs," he said. "King's a strong team and they took (12th ranked) Covenant to the wire last week."
  Milligan's senior captain, Steven Townley, almost had a hat trick, but finished with two goals to lead the team.
  Townley (Adelaide, Australia) opened up scoring for the Buffaloes just two minutes into the first half with a right shot into the outside of the goal after a soft assist from senior Ali Mohamed (Nairobi, Kenya).
  At the game's 18-minute mark, freshman Stuart Makinson (Franklin, N.C.) took an assist from sophomore Caleb Bollman (Avon, Indiana) to give the Buffs a 2-0 lead.
  At the 36-minute mark, Mohamed came through with a goal after a high cross from an assist by sophomore David Lilly (Coatbridge, Scotland).
  The Tornado got its lone goal right before the break when Geoffrey Valencia chipped it over his defender and shot it past Milligan's Jordan Fode, who also had two saves.
  The second half was also all Milligan.
  "It was a good game that went along well for us," said the sophomore goalkeeper Fode (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada). "Coming out three up was big. We slipped up last year against them."
  Just eight-minutes into the frame and the team was back at it, when Bollman took a shot off the post from Greg Hochstetter and rebounded it into the net.
  The squad got its final score midway through the stanza when senior Gabe Hillman (Ft. Myers, Fla.) touched Townley for his second goal of the game.
  Townley had two shots at goals later, but was held off by tight coverage from the King defenders. The team captain was impressed with his team's performance.
  "It was the first time all year that we've put 90 minutes together," said the senior Townley. "It's great to come out against our rival and play together as a team. We hope to build on that."
  "We've got some goals that we set before the season," he said. "It's going to take small steps, but we're headed in the right direction."
  Milligan had nine shots on goal, compared to King's three, whereas the Tornado led the game in direct kicks with 18 to the Buffs' 13.
  King goal keeper Brian Crunk had three saves for his team.
  Up next for the Buffaloes is University of South Carolina, Upstate, formerly Spartanburg.
  "It's important to take it one game at a time," Shirley said. "Next we have USC Upstate, who is usually a top ten NCAA Division II team. We expect a good game against them at home."
  The Buffaloes next host the Spartanburg based unit this Saturday at 2 p.m.