The Milligan College basketball team headed off to Alabama for its season opener without its head coach Friday.
Bill Robinson underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his back on Wednesday. Two days later, about all he was able to do for the Buffs was drop by Lacy Fieldhouse and wish them well.
“I’m hurting,” he said, “but I’m excited about the year and getting things started. The team is in good hands, and we’ve got really good leadership. I plan to be back on the sidelines for the Monday game (at home against Warren Wilson).”
Assistant coach Rob Brendle will be calling the shots when the Buffs play today at Selma University.
The starting lineup will include sophomore Mickey Woods, freshman Cartree Pettis and junior Tory Sitton in the backcourt, with senior Tyler DeVault and sophomore Chris Ellis up front. Ellis played at Tennessee High.
“He has just responded well to what we’ve asked of him in the preseason,” said Robinson. “We really don’t need him to score. Just rebound and play defense.”
The Buffs were supposed to have opened their season Tuesday night at Alice Lloyd in Kentucky, but the remnants of Hurricane Sandy forced a postponement until next Thursday. That massive storm has had Robinson’s attention in more ways than one.
He grew up on the New Jersey coast, in Ocean City, which took a devastating hit, and has lots of family and friends in the state.
“My mom is here with me now,” said Robinson. “She lives about two hours away from the coast and was able to withstand the storm just fine. But I have friends who lost houses and businesses. I know it’s a very difficult time for a lot of the people up there.”
The women’s basketball team also opens its schedule today on the road. The Lady Buffs, with Science Hill products Johneshia Good and Jaimee Hill in the backcourt, will face Lee University in Cleveland at noon.
Their home opener is Tuesday night against Lees-McRae.
It’s a big soccer weekend on campus.
The Buffs and Lady Buffs will each be hosting quarterfinal games in the Appalachian Athletic Conference today at Anglin Field.
The Buffs (10-5, 7-1) are the top seed and face Montreat at 7 p.m. They won the regular-season game 2-0 back on Sept. 11.
The Cavaliers earned a rematch by defeating Point 5-3 on penalty kicks Wednesday night. The match had been tied 1-1 through overtime.
The Lady Buffs (9-6-1, 5-2-1) get the day started when they play Columbia College at 4 o’clock. Milligan is seeded third and Columbia sixth.
The first meeting was a 1-0 victory by the Lady Buffs, coming on a Grace Shawley goal.
The AAC semifinals and championships on both sides will be decided on the home field of the highest remaining seeds. Semis are set for Nov. 8, with the title match on Nov. 10.