Lady Buffs dust off Bluefield

By Travis Brown

STAR STAFF

   The Lady Buffs of Milligan College have compiled a rather solid season behind the leadership of head coach Debbie Cutshall, and the Buffs showcased some ability Tuesday night as they handled the Bluefield Lady Rams in only three sets, 30-20, 30-8 and 35-33.
   Coach Cutshall was happy with her squad's performance.
   "I was pretty impressed with how we played," said Cutshall. "We changed up our offense and it worked well."
   That new offense flexed its muscles early as they opened up a 6-2 lead on the shoulders of some solid play at the net. Bluefield attempted to pull close, but some good communication and heads-up play from Milligan kept the deficit around 5 points for the entire match.
   Big blocks up front from Christina Medlin pushed the lead to 13-7, as Milligan really began to apply pressure.
   Both team picked up the pace a bit as the first game drew to a close, but Milligan continued to play good team volleyball. All facets of the game fell in place and the Buffs eased out of the first set with a 10-point win.
   The second game saw all portions of the Buffalo offense hit high gear. The most important aspect of the game was undoubtedly the first touches and passing game. Bluefield simply could not bump the ball to the setters.
   While the Rams were having problems, the Buffs were busy amassing points. Sparked by Wendy Weaver, the Buffs went on a scoring spree, pulling out to a 17-6 lead.
   Bluefield skipper Cynthia Huff had seen enough and called timeout to discuss her team's struggles. After the break, Bluefield looked to make a statement and get back into the match
   It was not to be however, as the Lady Buffs would not surrender the lead and take the second set.
   Visibly frustrated and mentally exhausted the Rams came out in the third set looking to gain some respect from the Buffs, and early on it looked as if they were not going to get it. A late surge from the Rams made things interesting though, as the Buffs utilized some of their depth to finish out the contest.
   Excellent setting from Sarah Beair and strong offensive production from Melanie Reed were good enough to jump out to a 23-12 lead. Just when things looked as if they were going south for the Rams, they staged a late rally to tie the contest at 29.
   Bluefield hung close as both teams traded the next four points until the Buffs finally sealed the deal. Back-to-back points for Milligan were enough to claim the victory and give the Buffs their 16th win on season.
   Cutshall is still looking to improve as tournament time approaches for her team.
   "We have to improve our defense," she said. "The tips are killing us and we have to get better at defending them."
   Time is still at hand for those improvements before next week's tourney.
   Beair lead the Buffs in assists with 11, while Cori Bray took home 10 kills.