Dixon gets 100th win

Noah Cloonan

It was a different feeling inside Kate’s Gymnasium on Sept. 13 as the Eagle’s Volleyball team took on Malone.

The team was coming off of a rough weekend where they lost three out of four games to some very tough opponents. But on Tuesday night, it was a different feeling as the students had filled the student section dressed in Hawaiian clothing for the first home match of the season. 

For AU Head Coach Cass Dixon, there was something else hanging in the balance inside of Kate’s Gymnasium that night. 

She was on the precipice of doing something that only two other volleyball coaches at Ashland have done before. 

Sitting there at 99 career wins, Dixon watched her team take their home court in front of their family and friends for the first time of the season. After a slow start, for the Eagles they were able to rally to take the first set 25-22.

From that point on there was not much of a challenge for the Eagles as they cruised to a three set victory over the Pioneers. 

The players shook hands and the players gathered around their coach who had just hit a milestone: 100 wins as the coach of Eagle Volleyball. 

The loudspeakers echoed a congratulations and parents, students and players broke out into a loud applause for Cass Dixon.

Senior Alli Cudworth has been around Dixon for four seasons now and smiled from ear to ear as she embraced her coach after the game.

“It’s awesome,” Cudworth said, “I love Cass, she is why I came here. She is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.” 

Dixon came onto the Ashland scene in 2011 and led her team to a 15-13 record. In just one year she turned the team around and had a tremendous 24-9 season en route to the their first NCAA tournament bid since 2007.

She followed that up with an even better year leading her team to a 26-8 record as she was named the Division II Midwest Region Coach of the Year. 

Dixon has had winning seasons in four out of her five here at AU and has an overall collegiate coaching record of 263-102. 

“It’s nice to see that she has accomplished so much here and its great to be a part of it,” Cudworth said.

With the win, Dixon joins Connie Surowicz (152) and Sue Martensen (461) as the only three coaches in Ashland volleyball history to break the 100 win mark. 

“She’s the third person to get there but the way I look at this one, is that Cass’s best days are in front of her,” Athletic Director Al King said. “She has built this program, she’s worked awfully hard at recruiting and building a program that can compete on the GLIAC level.”

Cudworth and the rest of the returning Eagles, along with a star-studded freshmen class will look to add some more wins to Dixon’s total as they look to capture their first GLIAC title since 2006 and return to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013.

“It’s a milestone,” King said. “But it’s a long way from the end, she’s young and she can really take this program a lot of different places.