KINGSPORT, Tenn. (Nov. 12, 2014) – Milligan College opened the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament with a 3-1 (25-12, 25-16, 17-25, 25-17) victory over Reinhardt University on Wednesday night inside the MeadowView Convention Center in Kingsport.

With the victory over the fourth-seeded Lady Eagles, Milligan, the three seed, took a strong hold over Pool C. The Buffaloes will close out pool play Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. with a match against ninth-seeded Truett-McConnell College (8-21, 4-11 AAC). A victory over the Lady Bears would guarantee the Buffs a spot in the final stage, a six-team single-elimination tournament set for Thursday evening and Friday.

Milligan College honoredKaitlyn Round for reaching the 1,000 career dig mark prior to its opening-round match of the Appalachian Athletic Conference volleyball tournament, but the Buffaloes didn’t need much defense Wednesday evening. Led by Samantha Bruinius‘ 16 kills, seven others got a piece of the offensive action, and the Buffaloes defeated Reinhardt University 3-1 (25-12, 25-16, 17-25, 25-17).

Samantha Bruinius led the Buffaloes with 16 kills in the win. Bruinius was one of four Buffs with eight or more kills as freshman Marissa Langford had 13, Emilee Linkous had nine, and Bailey Thomas had eight. Together, Milligan attacked at a rate of .308 and all but cruised to a repeat victory over a Reinhardt team which had taken the Buffs to five games when they met earlier this season. Milligan scored the last seven points in that match and did much of the same in this one.

Langford served seven straight points to close out game one, helping Milligan complete an 8-0 run by turning a 17-12 lead into a 25-12 victory. Langford had one service ace during that stretch, and Bruinius and Savannah Benton each registered a kill.

Roughly 20 minutes later, Langford was again the server during a pivotal 5-0 run late in the game that helped Milligan run away with game two.

Reinhardt was led by Ally Hurd and Katelyn Wienbarg who each finished with nine kills. The Eagles regrouped for game number three and looked to make it even more interesting by taking an early lead in game four, but Milligan finished strong with 15 kills and a hit rate of .414 in the last game.

Jessica Davenport, another Buff to reach a milestone this season, tallied 47 assists, matching her season high among four-game matches.

Kaitlyn Round, a senior transfer from Billings, Montana, eclipsed the 1,000 career assist mark in the final match of the regular season and reached double figures for the 25th time this season with 15 on Wednesday. She now has 1,019 digs, having accumulated 580 last season and 439 this season.