Volleyball splits final day of Mountain Madness Tournament

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (Aug. 29, 2015) – Three members of the Milligan College volleyball team earned distinction at the eighth annual Mountain Madness Volleyball Tournament, and the Buffaloes closed out the final day with a split result on Saturday, defeating the University of Pikeville in four sets but falling to Freed-Hardeman University in five.

Junior Grace Ann Moorhouse was named co-MVP of the tournament along with Reinhart’s Sam Croce and Shawnee State’s Lauren Helbig. Additionally, senior Jenna Headrick and sophomore Marissa Langford were named to the all-tournament team.

Moorhouse ranked second among tournament individuals with 4.3 digs per set and proved to be one of the most consistent players of the weekend. Langford averaged 2.8 kills per set which was third-best. Additionally, Jessica Davenport averaged 8.9 assists per set which was the weekend’s best.

As a team, Milligan was tops in the tournament in kills (11.3/set), assists (10.8/set) and blocks (2.7/set).

“Overall I’m very pleased with this weekend’s play,” Head Coach Doneva Bays said after the tournament’s conclusion. “We ran out of energy and lost a little focus in our last match with too many unforced errors. We will hopefully grow from it and gain some experience in that situation.”

In the first match of the day, Milligan rolled to a four-set win over Pikeville (25-20, 25-21, 25-27, 25-16). The Buffs started off slow but won five straight points at the end of the opening set to take control of the match and all but cruised from there. The match was highlighted by Marissa Langford and Emilee Linkous who carried the Buffs to a 2-1 lead, and Samantha Bruinius who caught fire at the end of the fourth set to clinch the victory.

Langford and Linkous registered identical stat lines in the kill category, posting 10 kills apiece with only three errors on 24 attempts for a .292 attack percentage. Bruinius tallied 11 kills, including eight in the final set and five over Milligan’s last six points.

Bruinius’ kill streak late in the fourth set helped Milligan close the match on a 14-7 run, which was part of an 11-4 stretch were Bruinius outscored the Lady Bears by herself.

Jessica Davenport had 35 assists, five digs, four kills and a service ace while Moorhouse had 24 digs.

Milligan finished with three solo blocks, all from Charlie Bateman, and 20 assisted blocks. Bateman and Jenna Headrick had five of those while Linkous recorded four and five other Buffs earned at least one.

Linkous and Headrick were paired together for several of Milligan’s assisted blocks, including blocks on back-to-back points and three blocks in a span of four points during the early part of the second set. Later in the third set, Langford and Bateman were part of a big block that helped Milligan tie the score at 22 as the two teams needed extra points to decide a victor. Bateman and Headrick then started off the fourth set combining for a block, and Bateman and Bruinius were part of one on the final point of the match.

After a near three-hour layover between matches, the Buffs started strong in their second match with victories in games one and two but ran out of gas and lost in five (22-25, 26-28, 25-18, 25-15, 15-10). Freed Hardeman, which had been pushed to five sets in two losses on Friday, used defense in the form of 16 team blocks to pull out the victory. The Lady Lions also forced Milligan into 43 attack errors.

Langford led the Buffs in the evening match with 13 kills while Bruinius had 11. Headrick and Linkous also had nine and seven kills, respectively. Davenport recorded 43 assists, and Moorhouse had 17 digs.

Milligan will be at home Tuesday, Sept. 1, for an Appalachian Athletic Conference meeting with Tennessee Wesleyan College beginning at 6:30 p.m. It will be the only home match for the Buffaloes in September.

(Courtesy Milligan Athletics)

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