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Cundiff gives women's soccer needed punch

Dave Ongie • Sep 22, 2016 at 5:36 PM

The Milligan College women’s soccer team is off to a solid start so far after a tough 3-13-1 campaign last year.

The Buffs are 4-3 overall and 1-1 in Appalachian Athletic Conference play, and the reason they’re more competitive this time around isn’t difficult to figure out. Milligan lacked an offensive punch last season, but that hasn’t been a problem this year thanks to freshman Bekah Cundiff.

“We had a key element missing last year, the ability to score goals,” said Milligan coach Lisa Buckley. “We didn’t have an out and out goal scorer who was hungry to be in front of the goal with the opportunity. We have now in Bekah.”

The freshman from Toledo, Ohio, has scored five goals and assisted on two others, helping Milligan outscore its opponents 23-12 thus far. When Cundiff broke a recent three-match goalless streak against King on Sunday, Buckley said the relief the freshman felt was palpable.

“It was kind of driving her crazy,” Buckley said. “We didn’t have that last year, a player that was hungry to score goals and took it personally when she didn’t.”

Milligan got the attention over everyone in the league by beating Columbia 2-nil earlier this season. Columbia was picked to finish second in the league in the preseason poll, but after a flurry of saves by Milligan goalkeepers Charlotte Stephens early in the first half, the Buffs dominated possession and won the game rather handily.

The Buffs will have another chance to make a big splash this weekend when AAC preseason favorite Reinhardt University comes to town on Saturday. The game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.

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The men’s soccer team had a golden opportunity to knock off nationally-ranked Union College on Wednesday night, but ultimately let the country’s 13th-ranked team off the hook.

The Buffs went up 3-1 before halftime thanks to goals by Jesse Ramoya, Zana Ali and Leonardo Guiaro. Milligan carried that advantage into the second half, but a goal by Union’s George Carroll in the 81st minute was the difference in the game.

The Buffs were outshot 13-8 on the night. Edwin Garcia and Steve Moore both scored for Union to knot the game up at 3, setting up Carroll’s winner.

The Buffs are now 3-4 overall and 0-1 in league play and will face Reinhardt at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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The women’s volleyball team stayed red-hot in AAC play on Tuesday night by sweeping Tennessee Wesleyan 25-14, 28-26, 25-19.

With the win, Milligan moved to 15-4 overall and 7-0 in league play. Samantha Bruinius and Marissa Langford led the way for the Buffs with 13 kills apiece while Bailey Thomas had 10 kills. Freshman setter Kellee Geren kept the offense rolling with 37 assists.

The Buffs are in the midst of a crucial two-week road trip. Off to a 2-0 start, the Buffs still have three more conference road matches ahead before finally returning home to face Virginia-Wise in a non-conference tilt on Sept. 29.

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The cycling program entered a new season facing much stiffer competition after making the jump from Division II to Division I following the 2015 campaign.

The Buffs got things rolling with a respectable 7th-place finish at the USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships in Rock Hill, South Carolina, last weekend. The women’s team scored the highest finish of the weekend, a fifth-place result in the Team Pursuit event.

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