The Roane State Raiders volleyball team won the National Junior College Athletic Association Region VII tournament Saturday in only the team’s second year of competition.
The Raiders, the top seed in the tournament, defeated Walters State 3-1 in four sets: 25-20, 19-25, 25-20, and 25-21.
The win was the Raiders’ third victory over the Senators this season and improved the team’s record to 18-4, a press release said.
Head coach Steve Dallman said after the match, “Those kids gave 150-percent out there. (The win) is about Roane State athletics and not just us.”
In first round action on Friday, the Raiders received a scare from Cleveland State. The Cougars forced the Raiders to squeak out a five-set win (25-17, 17-25, 25-14, 23-25, and 15-9), the press release said.
“In three previous meetings between the two teams this season, the Raiders had not lost a single set to the Cleveland,” the release said.
Dallman said of that game, “We didn’t play well. We got out of it because of our defense.”
Walters State reached Saturday’s finals after a 3-0 shutout win over Chattanooga State on Friday.
On Saturday, Roane State freshman Madison Boyd fired an ace to secure the first set win, 25-20.
Walters State jumped out to 10-6 lead in the second frame and cruised to a 25-19 win.
The Raiders fought back in the third frame to take a 2-1 lead. Leading by one point late in the set, 19-18, Roane State went on a 5-0 run to take a 24-18 lead. Walters State broke the Raiders serve and cut the Raiders’ lead to 24-20, but the Raiders were able to break the Senators’ service and win the set, 25-20, the press release said.
In the fourth set, Walters State leaped to a 12-6 lead. The Raiders scored four in a row to get back in the match, trailing by only two, 12-10.
Roane State kept fighting until the game was tied at 21. From that point, the Raiders took command scoring four unanswered points to win the set 25-21 and the match, 3-1.
After the match, Dallman said: “To be honest, we had a chip on our shoulder. We played with such intensity.” He added, “I couldn’t be prouder to be a Raider. Our kids are proud to be Raiders.”
Freshman Mattie Arnett, the tournament’s most valuable player, led the team with 18 kills, while second-year player Sydney Smith added 13, the press release said.
Four Raiders recorded double-digit digs, led by conference digs leader Taryn Lane’s 35. Arnett added 22 while Mattie Boyd and Katharine Roberts had 13 each. Roberts also topped the 50-assist mark in the match, the press release said.
With the win, the Raiders advance to the Southeast District A championship with a home match against Richard Bland College of William & Mary of Petersburg, Virginia, this Saturday, November 6. The start time for that match is still to be determined.
Roane State officials hope to “pack the house” for the match to try to help the team advance to the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in only their second season.
“In two years, what we’ve done is unreal,” Dallman said. “I have a hard time believing it sometimes.”
Dallman said the program’s rapid success is due to the immense support of the college “… including every coach in every program, and from the president on down.”
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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