RIO GRANDE, Ohio — With Salem International University paying a Tuesday night visit, the University of Rio Grande volleyball team went fishing for an end to its five-match losing streak.
However, when all was said and done, the RedStorm were left talking about the one that got away.
The visiting Tigers spotted their hosts an early lead before roaring back to post a 3-1 (19-25, 25-23, 25-23, 25-21) victory in non-conference action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Salem International, an NCAA Division II independent, improved to 2-3 with a second straight win.
Rio Grande slipped to 1-9 with the loss – the program’s worst start to a season since beginning the 2006 campaign with the same record.
Things got off to a good start for the RedStorm, who scored nine of the final 10 points to claim the opening set.
But the Tigers never trailed in set two after jumping to an early 7-1 lead, while set three saw SIU bounce back from a 16-12 deficit with a rally that included four of the final six winners.
Set four saw Rio Grande trail by as many as four points on two occasions, including 22-18, before pulling to within one, 22-21, after the second of consecutive kills by freshman Taylor Carroll (Atlanta, GA).
The Tigers held on, though, scoring the final three points of the match to seal the win.
Rio Grande finished a 40-35 edge in kills, but the RedStorm were undone – in part – by 25 attack errors, 11 service errors, five reception errors and five ball-handling errors.
Senior Aleah Pelphrey (Piketon, OH) had a team-high 13 kills and 15 digs to lead the way in a losing cause, while freshman Carly Shriver (Gallipolis, OH) had 15 assists and 10 digs and fellow frosh Ryanne Stoffel (Englewood, OH) had 14 assists and 10 digs.
Freshman Baleigh Bradley (Portsmouth, OH) and sophomore Katie Hemsley (Jackson, OH) had 14 and 10 digs, respectively, for Rio.
Salem-International’s winning effort was led by Rachel Hess’ 13 kills and 13 digs, while Cassidy Pluta had 14 assists and Jen Foreman had a match-best 22 digs.
The Tigers also had 18 digs from Sofie Freihofer and 10 assists from Feliciana Reed in the victory.
Rio Grande returns to action on Friday at the Mills College Round Robin in Oakland, Calif. The RedStorm will face the host Cyclones at 5 p.m. before battling Simpson University at 10 p.m.