Georgia’s newest athletic program opened a new era at Central, S.C., on Tuesday. The Dalton State Lady Roadrunners volleyball team opened its season against Southern Wesleyan University, a team which finished fourth last year in the very competitive Southern States Athletic Conference. While the final outcome was not what Coach Bruna Langner was looking for, the effort, enthusiasm and overall competiveness of the match was remarkable, and the Lady Roadrunners performed well beyond their youth and inexperience.
The Roadrunners lost the match 3-0, but each game was competitive at 25-10; 25-15 and 25-19.
“The third game was what I was used to seeing in practice,” said Coach Langner, who was an NAIA All-American at Lee University. “I think nerves got us a bit in the first two games, but once we settled down, we looked really good. We lost, but we played hard and have a lot of things we can take from this match and improve upon.” After a well-placed timeout in game 3 by Coach Langner, the Lady Roadrunners went on a 9-2 run against the Lady Warriors, who boasted a roster of 80 percent juniors and seniors. In the end, the experience and talent of the Lady Warriors won out, but not before they were severely tested by the Roadrunners.
For the record, the first kill was recorded by Alyne Bianchi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil). The first serve came courtesy of Clarisse Weber (Nova Petropolis, Brazil); the first dig was registered by Tori Pierce (Ooltewah) and the first block by Kailey Vaughn (Calhoun, GA). These are all school firsts and will go down in the record books. Overall, on the year, the Lady Roadrunners move to (0-1) while the Lady Warriors start the season (1-0).
Athletic Director Derek Waugh said, "As an athletic director attending this first game, I can say that the Lady Roadrunners made me extremely proud. They are obviously well coached; they have excellent chemistry and they showed streaks where they looked like one heck of a college volleyball team. What Coach Langner has done in six months and what these young ladies have done in a mere 19 days as a team is something they should all be proud of.
"The match was exciting, close and hard fought. Overall, a great night for Dalton State athletics and, more importantly, Dalton State College and the entire community. I was a bit worried about how competitive we would be in year one, but if tonight is any indication, our volleyball program is in great hands and I cannot wait to see how they develop this year and for years to come. I am not worried anymore; I am just excited to see the next match. Win or lose, these young ladies are fun to watch and represent our institution in a first-class manner."
Clarise Weber had eight assists on the night. Alyne Bianchi had 11 kills and Tori Pierce had six digs. Karly Newman had four digs and Savannah Nelson four kills.