Behind strong performances from Alyssa Rupert, Kellee Geren and Julie Dockery, the Milligan College volleyball team capped off a perfect week that saw the Buffs defeat four conference opponents and move into first place of the Appalachian Athletic Conference North Division.
Over the course of the week, Milligan defeated three of its four opponents in straight sets and picked up two wins on the road to improve to 4-0 away from Steve Lacy Fieldhouse.
“I’m super proud of the way my team bounced back from two conferences losses the previous week to a 4-0 week,” said head coach Doneva Bays. “I think we played extremely well and really cut down our unforced errors and stayed focused and disciplined.”
RUPERT, GEREN, DOCKERY POWER BUFFS
Rupert, the senior libero, anchored the Buffs defense throughout the week by posting 104 digs in 13 sets for an average of eight per game. Saturday, the senior recorded 29 digs against Allen, which set a new career high for digs in three sets.
Rupert’s performance led to her fifth AAC defender of the week honor this year. The libero currently ranks number one in the nation in digs/set and third in total digs.
Geren, who leads the AAC in assists per game, guided Milligan’s offensive attack with 121 assists for an average of 9.31 during the four-game stretch. Geren also produced three double-doubles in the Buffs’ four victories, which helped her earn AAC setter of the week honors for the second time this season.
The net was controlled by junior Julie Dockery, who racked up 38 kills on 80 attempts with only 10 errors for a .350 attacking percentage. Dockery also posted five blocks and was named the AAC attacker of the week.
With wins over Montreat, Bluefield, Allen and Columbia, Milligan was able to improve its record to 13-4 overall and 7-2 in AAC play.
The Buffs will look to extend their four-game winning streak Friday as they host new AAC foe Columbia International at 6:30 p.m. Milligan remains inside the friendly confines of Steve Lacy Fieldhouse Saturday for a tri-match against St. Andrews (11 a.m.) and Emory & Henry (3 p.m.).
CROSS COUNTRY PUTS ON STRONG PERFORMANCE AT UPSTATE
The No. 4 women’s and No. 17 men’s cross country teams were in action Saturday at the USC Upstate Invitational in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Both teams recorded a fourth-place finish in what was a heavy NCAA Division I field.
On the women’s side, three Buffs finished inside the top 20, including Jacquelyn Crow, who posted a season best time of 18:24 in a seventh-place finish. Freshman Gabrielle Mardis and junior Erica Stone crossed the finish line in 18th and 19th respectively to round out the top-20 finishers for Milligan.
Alex Mortimer led the men with a 12th-place finish (26:35) and was followed by three other Buffs in the top 25.
"I'm sure we're starting to get tired as we close in on the end of a big training cycle," head coach Chris Layne said. "We'll then get rested up and start to sharpen the pencil as we head toward the championship window of the season."
Milligan will return to action Saturday, Oct. 20, as they travel to Beaufort, South Carolina, for the Sand Shark Invitational.
SWIMMING FINISHES SECOND IN SEASON OPENER
The Milligan College swim team kicked off their 2018-2019 season Saturday at the Lindsey Wilson Invitational and both the men’s and women’s team came away with second-place finishes. Over the course of the two-day event, the Buffaloes produced 19 national qualifying times.
Sophomore Margaret Halloran led the women’s side as she won the 500 freestyle event with a time of 5:24.10 and placed second and third in the 100 backstroke (1:03.46) and 400 individual medley (4:55.45) respectively. Sara Farmer also had a nice weekend, winning the women’s 100 backstroke (1:02.87) and capturing third in the 50 freestyle.
Isaac Etherton won the men’s 200 butterfly with a time of 2:01.97, which just missed the school record. The freshman also won the 100 butterfly (54.58) in what was his first collegiate meet.
Up next for the Buffs is a trip to Bristol, Tennessee, for the Milligan, King, Lees-McRae Tri-Meet.