MB volleyball gets a spike out of transfer Milligan

Myrtle Beach volleyball coach Larry Church just happened to be in his office this summer when the telephone rang.

No big deal, he thought at the time. He had received phone calls like this one before.

“I really didn’t think much about it because I’m always getting calls saying, ‘My daughter is transferring to school there this year and she’s a pretty good player,'” Church recalled. “Most of them can’t play a lick, but not this one.”

The voice on the other end of the phone was the father of Meagan Milligan, a 6-foot-1 junior who Church calls the best player he’s ever coached. She is ranked among the top juniors in the nation and is receiving recruiting interest from several top schools across the country.

Now the Lady Seahawks’ opponents are starting to find out that it’s not just tall talk, but the transition wasn’t easy. Transferring from Lake Worth Christian Academy near Boynton Beach, Fla., Milligan was preparing to make another run at a state title with her teammates when she learned her family was relocating to Myrtle Beach.

“It was tough because I had a lot of friends on the team and we had vowed to go back and win the state championship,” Milligan said. “We made it to the semifinals my freshman year, then we were runners-up last year, so this was going to be the year we won it all.”

But her father’s new job with the coming Pat Boone Theater in town had other plans. After the phone call failed to make the right impression on Church, Milligan let her play do her talking for her.

“She’s tall and can jump out of the gym, but she’s got such overall skills that she would be a great player even if she was short,” Church said. “But the best thing about Meagan is she’s a team player. She makes the whole team better.”

Milligan said she felt somewhat awkward coming into a new school with a new team, but her fears were quickly put to rest.  She has gained a great group of friends and teammates and the results are showing on the court.

“At first it was hard. Everybody was real quiet because we didn’t know each other,” Milligan said. “But now it’s great. We joke around a lot and we’ve really come together as a team.”

Milligan had 11 kills and eight aces in the Lady Seahawks 3-0 sweep of Georgetown on Thursday to improve their perfect record to 9-0. She said so far she has seen a drop-off in the competition level from the volleyball-rich state of Florida, but that could change this weekend when the Lady Seahawks compete in Dorman’s Tournament of Champions, which features the top programs in the Palmetto State.

“Volleyball is really big in Florida and there were a lot of tough teams in the area where I lived,” she said. “But I’ll probably get a better idea this weekend. We want to go see where we stack up against the best teams in South Carolina.”

If the Lady Seahawks are up to the challenge, Milligan just might get her long-awaited state title after all, albeit in a different state.

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