For Lady Buffs' senior, it's been a solid career
  

By DALLAS COOK

STAR Staff

   With the AAC (Appalachian Athletic Conference) volleyball tournament scheduled for today and tomorrow, the Milligan College Lady Buffaloes will get to witness the broad display of talent that senior Megan Hackler puts on.
   "It's been like a dream come true for me to play at Milligan," said Hackler. "It's what I've always wanted to do."
   A standout athlete from Sullivan North High School, Hackler found the transition from the prep level wasn't going to be an easy task while playing for one of the top programs in the region.
   "I caught on pretty quick but the pace of the game is a lot faster," said Hackler. "It was a drastic change because in high school I was a setter, but when I came to Milligan I became a defensive specialist."
   Since 1998 the defensive specialist from Kingsport has been a key part to the Buffalo success, leading her team to second-place regular season finishes in her junior and senior years -- losing only to conference rival King College, which has dominated the conference the past several seasons.
   "It's really been great to have Megan," said Milligan coach Debbie Cutshall. "She's been starting since her freshman year. She's a hard worker and she gives one hundred percent each time."
   In her junior season Hackler played in 115 sets and compiled a 92 percent serving percentage along with 17 service aces and 215 digs.
   "She's is a very intense player," Cutshall said of Hackler's performance. "And that's because she is one of our senior captains."
   For her senior campaign that is still in progress, Hackler has participated in 113 sets and has a 97 percent serving percentage. She has nearly doubled her service aces with 30 so far and has 342 digs. In her serve receiving, Hackler has a mark of 90.29 percent.
   "Even off of the court Megan is a hard worker," said Cutshall. "She is great student, she was a scholar athlete last year. She is a great role model for our young players."
   Upon graduation Hackler will receive a degree in Elementary Education and hopes to become a teacher and coach at the middle school level.
   "She's a great all-around player," Cutshall said. " We're definitely going to miss her after this year especially her leadership role."
   Milligan will play the winner of Montreat and Brevard today at 1 p.m. in their first game of the AAC tournament.
   "Our goal is to always make it to nationals," said Hackler of her team's goals. "Obviously not every team is going to make it but we take it one step at a time."