Montreat turns away Milligan

Asst. Sports Editor

  The Milligan College Lady Buffs lost three close games to the Montreat Lady Cavaliers (34-32, 30-28, 30-23) Thursday night at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
  The Lady Buffs stay fifth in the conference with a 4-4, 6-8 record. The Lady Cavs have only three conference matches under their belt and place seventh in the conference at 2-1, 3-6.
  Milligan had a tough first set that was lost by four bad serves in the early going. Montreat came out with an obvious advantage by using its height to perform some outstanding blocking at the net.
  "That was four points right in the beginning," Milligan head coach Kim Hyatt said about the bad serves in the first game. "We got beat by two. I think if we had gotten a stronger start, a faster start, I think we would have taken that match. Montreat is a good team -- very, very much improved from last year."
  The Lady Buffs came back to tie it, 29-29, off a Montreat return error, but the score was kept at a tie when Milligan made its own return error for a 31-31 score.
  The Lady Buffs' Tara Earhart then made a kill for a one-point lead. But Montreat would then take advantage of two kills and seize the game at 34-32.
  "The think what it is too is that we are still not back into our rhythm," Hyatt said. "We are still a little off. Jamie (Sly) was hurt for the past couple of days, and she is our main setter. I think we are just going to have to work faster on defense, do better blocking and when we put the hits down, they need to be kills. When we go up and hit, we want it to be a kill and not just putting the ball in the other court."
  In the second game, the Lady Buffs would play catch up, going down no more than four points, then coming back to tie it at 27-27 before falling 30-28.
  Milligan's Beth Snapp opened up the third game on a good note with an ace. Lindsey Wetherholt and Alison Slagle both also served up some aces in the start of the game to take a 7-3 lead. Montreat then took advantage of some errors and tied it back up at 10-10.
  The Lady Cavs, from that point, slowly ate away at the third-game rally by the Buffs and took the game away at 30-23.
  Earhart led the team with 16 kills. Snapp and Amanda Hyder both totaled eight digs through the three games. Slagle and Wetherholt both had two aces each, and Sly totaled 33 assists.
  "They are real good about talking to each other on the court and keeping each other motivated," she said. "They care for each other a great deal and that helps out a lot too. When they are that young, they need each other. I am real happy with them this year. We went out and recruited some great talent. I think it is paying off. We are only losing by little point margins, not six or seven points."
  Montreat will face Union College tonight at home while the Lady Buffs will enjoy a long weekend before Monday and Tuesday when they will play Johnson Bible College and Union College, respectively. Milligan will then travel to UVA-Wise on Thursday of next week.