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Volleyball begins play in Iowa; indoor track & field kicks off 2018-19 campaign

Kyle Stafford • Nov 27, 2018 at 6:11 PM

Led by captains Alyssa Rupert and Kellee Geren, the Milligan College volleyball team is continuing its historic 2018 season run with three guaranteed matches this week at the NAIA Women’s Volleyball National Championship final site — Sioux City, Iowa’s Tyson Events Center.

The Lady Buffaloes (26-6) faced off against No. 1 Grand View (33-0) on Tuesday — losing 3-0 — plays No. 16 College of Idaho (22-8) on Wednesday at 5 p.m. and No. 17 Providence (22-9) Thursday at 5 p.m. Milligan must finish in the top two of its pool to advance to the single-elimination championship bracket.

Rupert, the 2018 Appalachian Athletic Conference libero of the year, has been the anchor of the Milligan defense as she currently ranks No. 2 in the nation in digs per set (6.73) and sixth in total digs (787). The senior has set a school record for digs in a single season and is on pace to also break the single-season school record for digs per game.

On the offensive end, Geren has orchestrated the Buffs attack all season long as she has racked up 1,164 assists and ranks 23rd nationally in assists per game at 9.95. Geren also surpassed the 3,000-career assist mark in what has been a stellar junior campaign.

A few other key Buffs to keep an eye on during the tournament are Julie Dockery, Julia Codispoti and Alyssa Gibson, who have all provided solid production.

TRACK & FIELD SET TO BEGIN INDOOR SEASON

The indoor track & field season is officially upon us as the Buffs open their 2018-2019 campaign this week with a split squad at the Bast Creggar Invitational in Roanoke, Virginia, and the Montreat Invitational in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

The two meets will be the only competitions Milligan will compete in throughout the rest of 2018, but the Buffs will be in action eight times in 2019 — culminating with the AAC championships (Feb. 14-15) and NAIA Indoor Track & Field National Championships (Feb. 28–March 1).

Sophomore Nathan Baker, the 2018 3,000-meter national champion, will lead the men’s squad while senior Liz Maller, an All-American in the shot put, and junior Erica Stone, an All-American in the 1,000 meters, will headline the women’s team.

MEN’S AND WOMEN’S BASKETBALL RETURN HOME

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams return to the friendly confines of Steve Lacy Fieldhouse this Wednesday as they host AAC foe Truett McConnell. The women’s game will tip at 5:30 p.m., and the men will follow at approximately 7:30 p.m.

The women remain a perfect 6-0 (4-0 AAC) after a 78-73 road win over Reinhardt on Tuesday, Nov. 20, and have five different players averaging double figures on the season. Senior Sarah Robinson leads with 14 points per game followed by Andi Lamb at 13.3, Mackenzie Raizor, 13; Kaely Gose, 12.5; and Emma Kate Brown, 10. Lamb, a redshirt senior, leads the nation in field-goal percentage as she is shooting at a 63.8 percent clip.

As a team, Milligan ranks No. 2 nationally in defensive rebounds per game (33.67) and total rebounds per game (48.33). Raizor sits atop the team leaderboard with 58 rebounds followed by Robinson at 54.

The Lady Buffs currently own two other top 10 national rankings as they are 10th in total rebound margin (12.33) and 10th in scoring offense per game (82.67).

On the men’s side, the Buffs (5-3, 2-2 AAC) will be looking to get back on track against the Bears as they have lost two straight in conference play. Senior forward Aaron Levarity leads the team with 20 points and 13.5 rebounds per game. He ranks No. 1 in the nation in offensive rebounds per game (5.38), and No. 3 in total rebounds per game (13.5) and total rebounds (108).

Following Levarity, Tyler Nichols is second on the team in scoring with 15.6 points per game and Desean Green sits third with a 10.6 average. Green, a junior guard, is fifth nationally in steals per game at 2.5.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will finish off the week with an AAC road matchup against Allen on Saturday with tip-offs set for 2 and 4 p.m.

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