October 22, 2013

Roadrunners win as volleyball home slate finishes

Devin Golden
devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

— Playing in front of a home crowd for the final time this season, the Dalton State College women’s volleyball team made sure to leave a good impression.

The Roadrunners swept Oakwood University of Huntsville, Ala., 25-13, 25-10, 25-12, in front of a few hundred fans on Monday inside the Mack Gaston Com-munity Center in Dalton. It was the last of nine home matches in the inaugural season for Dalton State, which finishes with four road contests through Nov. 5.

The Roadrunners started their home schedule Sept. 19 at Dalton High School, losing that best-of-five match with Reinhardt University in four games.

Winning on Monday should be a good step to starting better next season, coach Bruna Langner said.

“This was how we wanted to finish our home matches,” she said. “Hopefully, next year, we’ll start well.”

The Ambassadors (6-9) never posed a threat in any of the games and often tried and failed to defend against kill attempts from the Roadrunners (7-12). Dalton State scored the first four points of the match from kills. Ahead 15-10 in the first game, the Roadrunners had four more kills in a row and finished the set with an ace from Karly Newman.

Michala Askew led all players with 17 assists and fellow setter Clarissa Weber added 11 for Dalton State. Savannah Nelson finished with a game-high 12 kills, but other hitters took advantage of good passes as Alyne Bianchi had 11 kills and Anna Dykes chipped in six.

“There seems to be more chemistry at this point in the season,” Askew said.

The Dalton State athletics department sold green T-shirts as part of “Green Night.” All proceeds from sold T-shirts went to The GreenHouse, an advocacy center for abused children in Dalton. Roadrunners athletic director Derek Waugh said 386 T-shirts were sold for $10 apiece.

“Hopefully, next year this will become a big thing,” Langner said.

In the second game, Oakwood gained its first lead of the match with an ace on the first point, but the Askew-to-Nelson connection followed for a kill. Dalton State built a 9-6 lead and scored seven straight points on Kailey Vaughn’s serve. Ahead 20-8 later in the game, Ashley Nations had four consecutive aces and Askew assisted Nelson again to put the Roadrunners ahead 2-0 in games.

“In practice, we’re told, ‘Serve hard. Serve hard,’” Nations said. “I served hard, and it paid off.”

The third game followed a similar script, with Oakwood scoring the first point but Dalton State giving no more. The Roadrunners scored seven straight points for a 7-1 lead. Later, they scored seven in a row again to stretch their advantage from 16-10 to 23-10.

In the match-clinching point, Askew assisted Nelson for the seventh time, which tied Weber assisting Bianchi for the most connections. Coincidentally, Askew assisted Nelson for the match’s first point.

“Me and Michala, we click,” Nelson said. “She’s one of the best setters I’ve had. ... Everyone says when me and Michala get together, the chemistry is epic. That’s why you’re here, for the bond.”

Oakwood scored 11 of its 25 points in the match from Dalton State missing on serves. The Roadrunners have a chance to omit those mistakes when they play the Ambassadors in their next match Saturday in Huntsville.

After that, Dalton State travels to Gainesville Oct. 31 to face Brenau University, visits College of Coastal Georgia in Brunswick on Nov. 2 and faces Tennessee Temple University Nov. 5 in Chattanooga.

The Roadrunners played home matches at the community center and Dalton High School this season due to renovations at Dalton State’s on-campus Bandy Gym, which is expected to be the venue for the team’s home matches next season.