King ousts Lady Buffs

Photo by John Bryant
Lady Buffs senior Lindsey Wetherholt reacts to a shot at the net by Rachel Adkins of King.

   BRISTOL--The Appalachian Athletic Conference volleyball tournament opened up Friday morning with the Milligan College Lady Buffaloes, seeded No. 8, taking on the No. 1-seeded King College Lady Tornado. The Lady Buffs dropped three straight games, 30-20, 30-18, 30-27, to close out their 2004 campaign.
   "We're a young team and everybody knows it," Milligan head coach Kim Hyatt said. "I think that a part of it was that we were so excited about the game. We were kind of slacked in the first two games because of it. We were concerned with the win or the loss instead of playing the game. The third game, I think we came out and played some volleyball.
  "We played it more to our rhythm instead of playing it to King's rhythm. That helped us score better points and to hit better. They played it slower the first two games and we play at a faster pace. I am happy with what we have done."
  The young Buffalo squad kept the first game at an arms length when Tara Earhart put down a kill with the score with King up 18-17.
  King's Rachel Adkins' laid down a kill, Tornado Kelly Pittman served an ace, and then Lady Buff Lindsey Wetherholt had a kill for a 20-18 score.
  From there Milligan had two errors at the net, Stephanie Ervin had a kill and Tornado Julie Bradbury served up two aces for a 25-18 lead.
  Lady Tornado Lauren Perrin then slapped down three kills to help her team take the first game.
  The Lady Tornado team took a four point lead at 15-11 in the second game and the Lady Buffs never got any closer.
   The Lady Buffs played the third game like their season depended on it. The team gave the No. 1 seed a tough battle by keeping the score close throughout the match, but gave it up at the end off of two errors at the net and a King kill. Both Beth Snapp and Tara Earhart both served up aces in the game and Allison Langrel had five kills in the game.
  Throughout all three games, Earnhart lead the team in kills and digs, putting up 16 of each. She also served up two aces. Langrel had 10 kills. Snapp totalled 12 digs and Jamie Sly had 31 assists.
  "Milligan is a good team," Lady Tornado head coach Susie Toomey said. "They really are. They have a lot of freshmen and sophomores on their team, but they have given us a good match every time we have played them. They are a good solid team. We had to get out there and fight for it. We were down a few that are injured that we didn't want to have to play them unless we had to. But we had them ready in case we had to send them in.
  "We started off young and inexperienced at the beginning of the season. We have been through my worst season this year as far as injuries go. We have players playing on their injuries. Our season has been a roller coaster because of those injuries. We have won like the last 10 out of 11 and have been moving up and feel like we are beating it. You can't ask for anything more."
  King was lead in kills by Perrin with 16 and Julie Bradbury served up two aces. Bradbury also lead the team with 12 digs.
  The Milligan squad finished up the season with a 10-23 record but is looking forward to the future as the entire squad will return with the exception of senior Wetherholt.
   "I am very encouraged with what we have coming back," Hyatt said. "We have everyone back except Lindsey. This is a strong team. We can only go up from there. They are truly the best athletes I have ever had. They have improved as a team and I think that is the key.
   "I think that when you bring in 11 freshmen and three sophomores returning, you have to gel those different styles of volleyball from all over and get them to play Milligan vo,lleyball and get them to play our offense and our defense. In the beginning it was tough, but now they are getting to where they need to be. I think that is the big improvement from the beginning to the end is that they are learning our offense and defense and are starting to adjust to that a whole lot better."