Overcoming fast Lady Buff start, King defeats Milligan

By Marvin Birchfield
STAR CORRESPONDENT
mbirchfield@starhq.com

   The Milligan Lady Buffaloes were looking to avenge a prior loss in volleyball to King, but they came up short after getting off to a quick start.
   "All and all I felt like our court coverage was better than usual, and our blocking has improved immensely throughout the year," said Milligan coach Kim Hyatt, whose team dropped a 3-1 decision on Monday night at Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
   Milligan captured the first game after building an early lead and going up by as many as seven scores.
   King was able to close within four points to put the game at 20-16 before the Buffaloes went on a 6-0 run.
   A couple of missed kills by King, and a nice dig from Wendy Weaver and kill by Sarah Beair gave Milligan a 10-point advantage.
   The Buffaloes finished their last two scores of the game with hard hits coming from Melanie Reed and Lindsey Weatherholt to take a 30-19 one game lead.
   "I think we played aggressively and a little bit off of emotion in the first game," said Hyatt.
   The next game was a battle back and forth in the early stages, with Heather Lanning doing a nice job of setting the ball for the hitters to execute.
   The game was tied at seven apiece until some hard hitting around the net by Erin Reed and April Marrone gave King a 14-7 advantage.
   Milligan fell behind as many as 10 scores, and the set by Beair and kill from Melanie Reed closed the contest to 24-18.
   "This is a team that is our rivals, but we're leaning toward the fact that we'll get them in the tournament," said Reed.
   But the size of the Tornado around the net was much too strong, as Erin Reed scored off of several kills along with Marrone and Riyadh Cane.
   King's last point came off of an ace serve from Suzi Lawson to give them a 30-21 victory.
   The third game of the night might of been what broke the camel's for the Buffaloes, because a hard fought battle resulted into a disappointing loss that took away the momentum.
   Milligan opened up a 4-2 lead in the beginning, after a saving dig from Weaver was followed by a kill from Melanie Reed.
   "They are a big team, but I think we used our quickness tonight and hopefully we'll get them with that the next time," said Reed.
   The Tornado came back to tie it at seven, when Lindsay Hooks set the kill up for Cain.
   A hard shot by Christina Medlin and an ace serve by Melody Black put the Buffaloes back on top prematurely.
   This game would see-saw throughout, until King finally took the lead for good when Erin McDermid executed on the hit to break the tie at 17.
   Milligan kept the game in sight and closed to within one at 29-28 after a kill from Marrone was blocked by Melanie Reed.
   A nice one-handed save was made by Weaver, but Beair was unable to make the play on a kill from Marrone giving King the win 30-28.
   "We get up then we let down, but we have to learn how to play the same all the way through," said Weaver.
   In the final game it was all Tornado, as it jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.
   The game was tied at 2-2 after Weaver connected on a kill, but King went on a 9-1 run from that point to hold the advantage for the rest of the match.
   "Everybody was hitting well tonight, and we have to keep mixing up our offense to keep teams off balance for the tournaments," said Weaver.
   Three ace serves from Lawson took some wind out of the Buffaloes, but they had one good run before finally getting too far behind.
   A hard shot from Medlin brought Milligan back to within four scores, but another big run for King put the game away with the hard-hitting net play becoming a factor.
   A kill coming from Erin Reed gave King its final point to make it 30-19 final, along with winning overall three games to one.
   "King is a really good team, and they've got three hitters around the net that are 5-10 and we have one," said Hyatt. "It makes it hard with the to play with that kind of rotation, but I think with our skill level and size we competed very well."