From Staff Reports
Dalton State College’s women’s tennis team improved to 7-3 in its inaugural season with a 9-0 win over Atlanta’s Agnes Scott College on Friday at Lakeshore Park in Dalton.
The victory came two days after an 8-1 loss at Gainesville’s Brenau University, which is ranked No. 7 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics coaches poll.
“I think the loss to Brenau motivated the girls to be better, which is what you want,” said Michel Bates, Dalton State’s director of tennis. “They were ready to go.”
The Roadrunners were dominant in rebounding from Wednesday’s loss, winning the six singles matches in straight sets and also rolling in the pro-set play doubles matches.
In singles, the winners were No. 1 Laura Winter, 6-3, 6-0, No. 2 Daniela Sanchez, 6-3, 6-1, No. 3 Diana Narino, 6-0, 6-1, No. 4 Chelsea Powell, 6-2, 6-0, No. 5 Maria Aljandra Bejarano, 6-1, 6-1, and No. 6 Lindsay McCutchen, 6-0, 6-0.
In doubles, the winners were No. 1 Narino and Sanchez, 8-1, No. 2 Powell and Winter, 8-1, and No. 3 Bejarano and McCutchen, 8-0.
Bates said that while the Roadrunners “obviously still have a lot of room for improvement,” their three losses have come to quality opponents. In addition to losing to Brenau, the Roadrunners have fallen to Georgia Gwinnett College (currently No. 1 in the NAIA poll) and Brevard University, an NCAA Division II program.
“I am happy that we are hanging in there with elite competition with such a young team and beating opponents that come to the Lakeshore Tennis Center,” Bates said. “The win over nationally ranked (Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta) early in the season showed us where we can be, we just need to sustain that confidence and effort.”
Dalton State’s men’s and women’s teams host two matches this week, taking on West Point’s Point University at 11 a.m. Thursday and SCAD-Atlanta at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
• VOLLEYBALL SIGNEE: Kianna Delaney, a 2012 graduate of Ooltewah (Tenn.) High School who has played the past two seasons at Wallace State Community College (Hanceville, Ala.), signed with the Roadrunners on Thursday.
Southeast Whitfield High School senior Wendy Perez signed with Dalton State on the same day.
A 5-foot-10 middle hitter, Delaney was a four-year member of the varsity team and a three-year starter at Ooltewah, where she also earned all-region and all-district honors.
At Wallace State — which won back-to-back conference titles with Delaney — she earned second-team honors on the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) All-Region 22 Team as a freshman. This past season, she was the Region 22 Player of the Year and tournament MVP.
In 2013, Delaney led the conference in kills (485), blocks (137) and average kills per set (3.03). She was also third in the conference with a .334 hitting average.
The daughter of Kerry Delaney and Darrell Williams, she will graduate from Wallace State with an associate’s degree in May.
Dalton State went 10-14 in its inaugural season in 2013 while playing a non-conference schedule. The Roadrunners will begin play as a member of the Southern States Athletic Conference this summer.
• INGLE SPEAKS: Dalton State men’s basketball coach Tony Ingle spoke to the Kiwanis Club of Dalton this past week at the trade center, discussing the Roadrunners’ 26-4 showing this past season, the school’s first on the court in three decades and its first in the four-year era.
Ingle talked about the high goals the program set and the work he, his coaching staff and players put into the season.
“I expect to give my best on a daily basis, that’s one thing I can do,” Ingle said.
Although the Roadrunners didn’t belong to a conference this past season and were not eligible for postseason competition, they were among the nation’s best when it came to their record. In early February, their 23 wins were tied for the most among all NAIA programs. They finished the regular season third nationally in total wins.
Ingle, who played for the Roadrunners during the 1970s when the school was known as Dalton Junior College, aimed to win a national championship in the Carpet Capital. While that didn’t happen, he did lead Kennesaw State to an NCAA Division II national championship in 2004.
Now he’s working toward the original goal again, although as the program’s leader rather than a player.
“I love being called a coach,” Ingle said. “... A coach is someone who has the ability to have a vision, to persuade, to guide, lead and walk beside. It’s been said, ‘Ignore me and I’ll forget you, encourage and I’ll always remember you, inspire me and I’ll love you forever.’”