MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — A tough day at the net did not bode well for the University of Rio Grande volleyball team, as the RedStorm closed out their season-opening trip to Florida with a pair of losses on Saturday.
Head coach Billina Donaldson’s club dropped a four-set affair to Doane (Neb.) in its first outing (23-25, 25-16, 25-23, 25-15), before falling to host St. Thomas University in straight sets (25-13, 25-18, 25-20) in the STU Classic at the Fernandez Family Center.
Rio Grande finished the weekend at 1-3.
In the opener against Doane, the RedStorm won the opening set but piled up a season-high 29 attack errors and finished hitting just .087 for the match.
Senior Kayla Briley and freshman Rachael Gilkey had 10 kills each to lead the way in a losing effort, while freshman McKenzie Steele added a team-high 19 assists and Briley finished with 12.
Senior Chandler Brown had a match-best 17 digs to go along with two service aces, while Steele added 11 digs of her own.
Erin Keetle and Kaitlyn Bradley led Doane with 17 and 15 kills, respectively, while Alex Neff tallied a match-high 41 assists.
Erin Warren contributed 17 digs to the winning effort, while Bradley had 11 digs and Alexis Dale recorded six blocks.
Against St. Thomas, Rio finished with just five more kills than attack errors (26-21) and had an attack percentage of .050.
The RedStorm had eight errors in each of the first two sets.
Briley had a team-high seven kills and 11 assists in the loss, while Steele had 10 assists and Brown had 16 digs.
Gilkey added four blocks in a losing cause.
St. Thomas got 12 kills and 10 digs from Marisa Markus, while Dana Nowaczyk and Priscila Ertty had 16 and 11 assists, respectively.
Haley Bannister had 11 digs to lead the hosts, while Shanotta Bawek matched Markus’ total of 10 digs.
The RedStorm returned to action Tuesday night in a non-conference match at Ohio Christian University.