Buffs drop 1-0 match with Scots

Photo by John Bryant
Ryan Schweizer maintains control of the ball for the Buffaloes.

  JOHNSON CITY -- The Milligan College Buffaloes took on the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular-season champions, the Covenant College Scots, and walked away with a tight 1-0 loss to finish out their regular season Tuesday afternoon.
  "I didn't think we played very well today," Milligan head coach Marty Shirley said. "We have not played to the potential that we have been for the past couple of weeks. Covenant is a good strong team. They are very disciplined and they get a lot of numbers behind the ball. He has got good depth on the bench so he does a lot of subbing. That sort of disrupts the game when you have to stop and wait on subs. It is hard to get into a rhythm."
  The game opened up with both teams applying great defensive pressure and nobody banking it in the net in the first half. Steven Townley, Gregory Hochstetter and Kyle Wilcox all took a shot in the first, but couldn't drive it in the goal.
  Covenant came out of the half putting on some hard pressure in the backfield, and Allen Duble, who leads the conference in assists, had a beauty of a head shot go just slightly over the goal.
  Then Brandon McKay had a shot on goal in the third minute of the second half, but Scot keeper Austin Branson made the save.
  But in the ninth minute, Scot David Gambrell banked in an unassisted goal off a corner kick for the lone goal. Duble then had another shot on goal in the 11th minute. but it would be deflected by Justin Fuller in front of the goal.
  Hochstetter, Wilcox, McKay, Ryan Schweizer and David Lilly all took a shot in the game while Townley had three. Goalkeeper Jordan Fode had three great saves in the game for Milligan while Covenant keeper Branson stayed busy with eight saves.
  "I thought that Milligan played well," Covenant head coach Dr. Brian Crossman said. "I think that a fair result would have been a draw. I could have gone either way. Our goalkeeper made a couple of great saves and we had a great shot and that was the difference. In terms of play, Milligan played very well and could have had a couple [of shots] themselves, but unfortunatly for them it didn't go that way."
  The Scots stay undefeated in conference play at 8-0 and boast a 11-3-2 season while the Buffaloes will step into the AAC tournament, playing at home this Saturday, at 4-2-1 in the conference and 11-6-1 overall. Milligan will go in as the third seed.
  "It is very tough to beat Covenant when you get behind," Shirley said. "The thing that was difficult for us was that we got into their game and they are better at their game. We never started playing the way that we could play. But the credit is to Covenant. They played well and they did things to get us out of our game.
  "I felt that we dominated a lot of the play but we just didn't play very well. Their keeper had to make a lot more saves than Jordan did back there. We were getting opportunities but we just didn't get good looks."
  The Milligan men were missing one key element in their game which was the absense of Alex Kimani, who had to sit out the game due to a pile up of penalties.
  "He is an ancor for us defensively," Shirley said. "He distributes the ball well. I think that we can still play well without Alex but I think a lot of our play starts with Alex winning the ball and giving good distribution. We were getting that tonight but then giving it up."
  It is not yet for certain who will be coming to Anglin Field on Saturday to take on the Buffs, but they are certain to give the championship their best effort.
  "We had the same game plan coming in here," keeper Fode said about not having Kimani in the game. "It's just that Alex controls the ball in the middle and we were kind of missing him in the hole there. Things just didn't work. It will be a different story come tournament time I am sure."