RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Last Friday, the University of Rio Grande narrowly missed stopping a long losing slide in its match at Carlow University.
On Tuesday night, with the Celtics paying a return visit to the Newt Oliver Arena, the RedStorm didn’t let a second opportunity slip away.
Head coach Billina Donaldson’s squad posted a straight sets victory over their guests by scores of 25-19, 25-19, 26-24 in a River States Conference East Division matchup.
Rio Grande improved to 4-19 overall with the win, while picking up its first RSC win in eight tries in the process. The victory was also the RedStorm’s first home triumph this season.
Carlow, which rallied from a 2-1 deficit to post a 3-2 win in last weekend’s first meeting, dropped to 10-13 overall and 3-6 in league play.
Rio trailed throughout much of the opening set before using a 5-0 run to snap a 13-13 tie and take control en route to the early match lead.
Carlow scored two of the first three points in set two, but the RedStorm reeled off 12 of the next 14 winners and led by no less than five points for the remainder of the stanza. That five-point lead, 24-19, came just before a kill by freshman Abigail Grasso (Minford, OH) capped the set and gave Rio a 2-0 match lead.
The Celtics also led for most of set three and were within a point of taking the set after a block from Elizabeth Stadelman made it 24-21, but the RedStorm rallied to finish things off by scoring the final five points of the period – one on a Carlow ball-handling error, a kill by senior Aleah Pelphrey (Piketon, OH), a service ace by sophomore Katie Hemsley (Jackson, OH) and a pair of attack errors by the Celtics, including one by Emma Penrod on the final swing of the match.
Neither team fared particularly well at the net, with Carlow tallying a .099 attack percentage and Rio finishing at .086.
Pelphrey led the RedStorm with a match-high 10 kills, while freshmen Carly Shriver (Gallipolis, OH) and Ryanne Stoffel (Englewood, OH) finished with 12 and 10 assists, respectively. Hemsley added a match-high 21 digs in the winning effort, while sophomores Patricia Dennis (Celina, OH) and Kinnison Donaldson (Jackson, OH) had six and four block assists, respectively.
Penrod had nine kills to pace Carlow, while Michaela Koran had 24 assists, 13 digs and a pair of service aces. Mia Marmion and Sabrina Morosky added 13 and 10 digs, respectively, in the loss.
Rio Grande returns to action on Friday night when Ohio Christian University visits for a 5 p.m. first serve. The RedStorm are also home on Saturday at 11 a.m. to Indiana Univeristy East.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.