THE TURNING POINT: Malone was within two points at 15-13 in the first set before Ashland went on a 4-1 spurt to keep the Pioneers at arm's length.
STAT OF THE DAY: Tuesday night's victory was Ashland head coach Cass Dixon's 100th with the Eagles. She becomes the third Eagle head volleyball coach to reach the milestone, along with Sue Martensen (461) and Connie Surowicz (152).
A potential milestone can't take up space in someone's head if they don't know it's coming.
Such was the case for Ashland University head volleyball coach Cass Dixon, who earned her 100th win guiding the Eagles, a 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-17) victory in the 2016 home opener against non-conference foe Malone on Tuesday (Sept. 13) night at Kates Gymnasium.
"I honestly didn't realize it until I saw it on Twitter today," said Dixon, whose Eagles are 6-3 heading into the start of Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference competition. "It just shows the hard work that all of the teams that I've had throughout the years…they have worked very hard to get me that win.
"It's great to be back here on our home court, because we've been traveling so much, and we're going to be back on the road again. It was nice to be home, the crowd was great."
Senior outside hitter Casey Clark turned in a double-double with team-highs in both kills (11) and digs (12), and sophomore libero Kaitlin Bean added 10 digs. Sophomore setter Kayla Pfeiffer added 33 assists and nine digs in the victory.
"Kayla's done a really good job," Dixon said. "She's really stepped up and distributed the ball really nicely and gotten our hitters in good situations."
Ashland kept Malone to a team hitting percentage of .061 for the match, and a hitting percentage no better than .083 in any set.
"We just wanted to play a clean game and come out to a good start," Dixon said. "I think that we saw the strong start. Malone's a good team, they do good things. What matters is, in the end, that we get better every day."
UP NEXT: The start of GLIAC play on Friday (Sept. 16) at 7 p.m. at Findlay.