Wise upends Lady Buffs

Photo By Rick Harris
Lady Buffs sophomore Tara Earhart hammers the ball at the net.

STAR Correspondent

  The UVA-Wise Lady Highland Cavaliers (15-2, 13-2) marched into Steve Lacy Fieldhouse atop the Appalachian Athletic Conference on Thursday evening for a matchup against the upset-minded, yet still young, Milligan College Lady Buffs (8-18, 5-10).
  However youth eventually took over as the junior and senior laden Lady Cavs kept up their scorching pace, defeating Milligan four games to one.
  The Lady Buffs held tough in the first game, before falling 30-21 after a late Lady Cavs rally. Milligan took the second game 30-27, before dropping the final two sets 30-19 and 30-26 respectively.
  "In the first games, we have been working hard on defense and putting the ball away; and we're such a young team, we came out strong and working hard," said Lady Buffs head coach Kim Hyatt.
  That early strong effort was noticeable from the get-go, as Milligan and UVA-Wise battled in a see-saw game, which saw the Lady Buffs trailing by three points at the mid-point of the opening set. However, up 24-20 the Lady Cavs outscored the Lady Buffs 6-1 to take the first game.
  It was more of the same in the second game as the neither team could grab momentum, with both teams scrapping for the lead.
  With the score nodded at 21, neither team broke off more than a one-point lead until the Lady Buffs, up 27-26, reeled off three consecutive points off the service of Alyssa Graber, the freshman out of Montgomery, IN, to bring the score to 29-27, with UVA-Wise getting one more service chance. However, Allison Langrel, of Gray, ended the game with a spectacular kill to capture the game for the Lady Buffs.
  The Lady Buffs wish they could forget about the third game of the match, however. Down nine at 16-9, the Lady Cavs went on an 11-3 run to put the game out of reach, but not before Milligan added three late points, although that was too late, as UVA-Wise took the game 30-19.
  It seemed as if the fourth game was to be a replay of the third, with the Lady Cavs lead growing to an eight-point lead at 16-8. However, the Lady Buffs continued to battle, pulling to within two, at 24-22. UVA-Wise, though, pulled away as it took the game, 30-26, and the match.
  "We went down, the serving started picking up, and our middles started hitting more," said Hyatt of the effort of her squad in the fourth game. "We worked hard the last two games, it was an up and down thing, and we got tired."
  Individually, for Milligan, Jamie Sly kept up her excellent work as she tallied 55 assists, while serving one ace in the contest. Tara Earhart, of Bristol, brought home 23 digs and 12 kills, while also serving one ace, while Emily Rigney led the team with 24 digs.
  The Lady Buffs' Ashley Lokken grabbed a team-high 15 kills on the evening, while Amanda Hyder contributed 14 kills.
  Up next for the Lady Buffs is a road trip to Virginia-Intermont College on Tuesday, Oct. 16.
  "It's a big match for us," said Hyatt of the key AAC match-up next week. "We play OK on the road, we will have to take it aggressively, and be on our best game."
  The match is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. The next home contest for the Lady Buffs is Oct. 29, vs. Covenant College.