Dalton State College’s volleyball team enjoyed a day of seconds on Saturday — the second home match of the season, the second win of the season and the second time playing and beating Truett-McConnell College.
The Roadrunners swept the Bears in three sets, 25-18, 25-15, 25-9, and gave the home crowd at the Dalton High School gymnasium a much happier ending than Thursday’s premiere.
As the game progressed, Dalton State (2-6) became more dominant and Truett-McConnell (1-9) seemed more defensive. That is true both on the scoreboard and in Roadrunners coach Bruna Langner’s opinion of her team’s quality of play.
“I don’t know if it is because it was Saturday morning, but the intensity wasn’t as great as it was Thursday,” Langner said. “We started a little slow to start off, but by the end we started playing much better. I am happy with the win.”
On Thursday, Dalton State celebrated the first home match for any of the school’s sports since it relaunched athletics this fall. The Roadrunners lost, though, in four sets to Reinhardt University. But Saturday offered a chance to recreate the winning formula against a program Dalton State beat earlier this season for the first win in program history. The Roadrunners topped the Bears in three sets, 25-20, 25-9, 25-19, in the first meeting
“The intensity was higher Thursday,” freshman outside hitter Karly Newman said. “Our fundamentals were much better today. We made less mistakes and had better serves.”
The only time Dalton State trailed Truett-McConnell on Saturday was in the first set, when the Bears built a 7-4 lead after an unforced Roadrunners error. But the home side scored 10 of the next 12 points and finished the game with Kailey Vaughn’s ace. She also added another ace in the second set, plus three blocks through the whole match.
Dalton State totaled 33 kills and seven blocks, but the telling statistic was just five digs, as Truett-McConnell only had eight kills and one block. Langner said the Roadrunners were the constant aggressers thanks to good serves. They totaled 12 aces, with four each from Vaughn and Newman.
“We were serving so well,” Langner said. “They couldn’t get the right pass and the right set and then we got a good ball back and were ready to attack. That’s the way I want to play.”
In the second set, Dalton State sprinted to an 8-2 lead, but Truett-McConnell trimmed the deficit to 9-6. Clarissa Weber assisted an Alyne Bianchi kill on the next point and was the first of six straight points for the Roadrunners. Weber had an assist to Vaughn in the set’s final point. She finished with 17 assists while Michala Askew added 11.
Dalton State again held an 8-2 lead in the final set, and the closest Truett-McConnell could get was five points. With the score 12-7, Weber assisted Viviani Garcia for the first of 11 straight points for the Roadrunners. The match concluded after one of the Bears’ 12 unforced errors.
“We’re just at a point in our season where we are struggling with consistency,” Truett-McConnell coach Kezia Elkins said of her team.
Kills were spread throughout the Dalton State lineup. Savannah Nelson had a match-high eight kills and four blocks, while Bianchi and Vaughn each finished with five kills.
These two teams facing could happen more often in coming seasons. Dalton State became an official member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics this summer, and Truett-McConnell also is an NAIA school. The Bears compete in the Appalachian Athletic Conference, which is one of the league affiliations the Roadrunners athletic department is considering joining.