In a sport defined by scoring runs, Tuesday night’s volleyball match between Dalton and host Southeast Whitfield came down to which team was successful early and whether the other could overcome that moment.
The Lady Raiders were, and the Lady Catamounts couldn’t.
Southeast opened its Area 7-4A slate with two wins, topping Northwest Whitfield 25-19, 25-17 in the night’s first match and Dalton 25-17, 25-22 in the finale. Dalton beat Northwest 25-19, 25-23 in the middle contest.
Southeast (15-3, 2-0) got ahead 10-4 in the first game against Dalton thanks to six straight points, including three aces from senior outside hitter Megan Collins. The Lady Cats (9-5, 1-1) never got within four points the rest of the way.
In the second game, Dalton led 6-1 and looked to be in control, but Southeast closed the gap to 7-6. The two squads kept trading points with Dalton staying ahead until Southeast tied it at 12 on an unforced Dalton error. The Lady Raiders then took a 14-13 lead on a Hannah Graham ace and never trailed again.
“This team doesn’t like to lose, so when they get down they find a way,” said Southeast coach Jake Dickey, whose team is ranked fifth in the latest Ga.PrepCountry.com Class 4A coaches poll.
From Dalton coach Joey Wills’ perspective, poor passing doomed his squad.
“We played very well tonight except for passing,” he said. “We had more free shots over the net than I would’ve liked. Southeast played well, but we had a lot of really bad calls tonight that weren’t consistent.”
Wills said the runs are common for the sport.
“You’re going to get one server who gets hot and you don’t get the ball back,” he said. “I think that’s what happened in the first game when Southeast got ahead, and then we did.”
It was a big night for Graham, who passed 2012 Southeast graduate Carli Ledford’s career digs record total of 783. Graham had 12 digs in the two matches to bring her total to 790, Dickey said.
But the senior setter preferred to focus on her team’s solid start to area play and ability to come from behind in the final game.
“We’re just trying to go undefeated in (area),” she said. “Volleyball is such a rebound sport, and you have to bounce back to be a good team.”
Graham also tallied 35 assists and three aces on the night. She got help from Collins’ 22 digs and 17 kills and middle hitter Wendy Perez’s 16 kills.
Dalton’s Susan Meinders tallied 20 kills, with 14 coming against Southeast, and Molly Martin added 20 more. Setter Kara Pendley had 29 assists, including 16 against the Lady Bruins (6-11, 0-2).
Dalton jumped out to an early 7-1 lead against Northwest but let it slip away. But with the game tied at 19, the Lady Cats scored six straight points to end it, including the final two on assists from Pendley to Martin. In the second game, Northwest led 19-18 but Dalton went on another late run.
“We would’ve won that first game if we hadn’t made errors,” Lady Bruins coach Jennifer Quinn. “We gave them free points.”
Southeast toppled Northwest using mid-game runs, stretching a 12-11 lead to 18-11 in the first game and an 11-11 tie to an 18-12 advantage in the second. The Lady Bruins had six net faults in the match versus the Lady Raiders.
“Missing serves, four net calls in the first game and two lifts on the setter,” Quinn said of the dooming mistakes. “It wasn’t a good day for us. We played better than last Thursday, but it’s still these mental errors that we can’t overcome.”
Northwest’s Peyton Maret had four kills in the two matches. Liz Trew and Katie Kirk combined for eight assists against Dalton, while Sarah Thomas and Mary Kate combined for four blocks.
• North Murray moved to 3-0 against Area 4-3A competition with a 25-12, 25-20 victory at Adairsville.
Grace Phillips had eight kills and three aces to lead the Lady Mountaineers (11-10), while Hanna Abdelrazzaq added nine kills, Casey Chapman chipped in five kills and eight digs and Iliana Munguia finished with 12 digs and two aces.
• Coahulla Creek (9-15, 3-1) beat Fannin County 25-11, 25-23 but lost 25-10, 25-16 to Sonoraville in an Area 4-3A tri-match.
Taylor Ogle had 13 kills and four aces to lead the Lady Colts. Becca Bailey added 21 assists, Gabby Henderson had five kills and five digs and Macey Fossett finished with six kills and two digs.
• Christian Heritage (11-6, 1-1) beat Gordon Lee 25-18, 21-25, 25-18 to open Area 4-A play, but lost 15-25, 26-24, 27-25 to Whitefield Academy.
On the night, Brenna Mugge had 28 digs, Jessica Seehorn had 22 kills, 14 assists and seven aces and Savannah Roberson added 27 kills and six aces.
• In Area 5-2A action, Murray County lost 25-17, 25-6 at Coosa. Gabbie Bordelon led the Lady Indians (3-8, 2-5) with eight assists, while Kelsey Love had a pair of kills and a block.
Murray County also dropped a JV match, with Coosa winning 25-19, 20-25, 25-17. The JV Lady Indians are now 4-5.
• Christian Heritage 13, Excel Christian 0: Behind another strong effort in the circle from Rebecca Leonard, the Lady Lions (5-11) improved to 3-0 in Sub-region 6A-A play with a four-inning run-rule victory in Cartersville.
Leonard held Excel hitless while striking out 11 and walking four. She also had a hit, walked twice and scored three runs.
Also for Christian Heritage, Reagan Benedict was 2-for-2 with two walks, Cara Griggs was 2-for-2 with a walk, Julia McDonald was 2-for-4 and Lindsey Jones had a hit and a walk.
• Northwest 4, Heritage-Catoosa 0: Emily Boyd pitched a four-hit complete game and struck out nine to lead the Lady Bruins (18-2, 5-0 Sub-region 7B-4A).
Bayli Cruse had a double and two RBIs for Northwest, which continues to roll after finishing second this past weekend at the Cherokee County Invitational in Woodstock.
• North Murray 3, Ringgold 0: The Lady Mountaineers pulled back to .500 in Region 5-3A play by knocking off the league-leading Lady Tigers at home.
Hannah Hensley struck out two, walked none and allowed two hits in a complete-game victory to top Ringgold, which was previously unbeaten in region play.
The Lady Mountaineers (7-6, 4-4) struck for a pair of runs in the fifth with RBI doubles from Mcchaela Cochran and Kaitlin Epps, then added their final run on Megan Pittman’s two-out single in the seventh.
• LaFayette 8, Dalton 4: The Lady Cats (6-7, 0-6 Sub-region 7B-4A) lost at home after allowing four runs in the seventh.
Carson Hagin took the loss, pitching all seven innings, allowing only four earned runs and striking out six. Sarah Stinnett, Destinee Woods, Allie Blackwood and Hannah Jones each had two hits. Stinnett, Blackwood and Hagin each had one RBI.
• Dade County 7, Murray County 0: The Lady Indians (9-10, 1-2 Region 7-2A) were held hitless. Freshman Lindsey Dunn pitched six innings, allowed 13 hits and struck out four to lead Murray County.
• Cartersville 8, Coahulla Creek 0: Haley Reece had the lone hit for Coahulla Creek (8-10, 4-3 Region 5-3A) in the five-inning road loss, which came a day after a 4-2 loss to Sonoraville.
Against Cartersville, Nikki Hollis allowed five earned runs on seven hits.
Against Sonoraville, Shelbe Dilbeck struck out seven as she took the loss. At the plate, Baylee Adkins was 2-for-3, Emily Banks was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, Reece was 2-for-4 and Allie Thompson had a hit and drove in a run.
• Dalton’s Bekah Houston was second in the girls race and North Murray’s Isaac Pacheco finished third in the boys event at the Chattanooga Cross Country League’s second meet of the season.
Pacheco completed the Woodland Park Baptist 5K course in 17 minutes, 6 seconds, and the senior was one of three boys runners to break the course’s 17:26 record.
Other finishers for the Mountaineers were Ismael Cruz (20:05), Anthony De Santiago (20:16), Chris Joaquin (21:47), Jesus Cruz (19:32), Brandon Gonzalez (23:16) and Mason Pittman (21:03). Finishers for the Lady Mountaineers were Jessenia Gasper (26:00), Leslie Perez (27:48), Gabriela Vicente (29:30), Hanna Anderson (30:03), Kerstin Amos (31:28), Jennifer Sanchez (35:42) and Tory Radkiewicz (35:46).
Dalton’s boys were led by Brandon Pineda (18:11), while Noel Salaices (18:19), Anthony Hernandez (18:30), Francisco Perez (18:31), Trey Hurt (18:34), Ozzy Bastida (18:46) and Antonio Martinez (19:31) rounded out the Cats’ seven.
Houston’s 20:39 paced Dalton, while Elizabeth Queen (24:33), Ashley Parham (24:43), Bitia Paz (25:34), Caroline Norman (25:38), Salma Soliman (25:53) and Monica Vega (26:59) followed her.
For Southeast’s boys, Marcos Arredondo finished in 18:31, while other Southeast finishers were Omar Ruiz (20:41), Tyler Cowan (20:53), junior Jose Hurtado (20:58), Juan Ruiz (21:01), Aaron Thomas (21:01) and Enrique Ponce (21:17)
For the Lady Raiders, freshman Ana Padilla led the team at 25:49, while other finishers were Jessica Flores (26:41), Alejandra Lerma (26:43), Sandy Torres (27:03), Angelica Herrera (27:04) and Samantha Gravitt (27:05).
Northwest was scheduled to participate at the meet but did not report results by The Daily Citizen’s deadline.