RIO GRANDE, Ohio - While her team came up short in its season opener against the University of Northwestern Ohio, University of Rio Grande head coach Billina Donaldson found it hard to complain.
“For the first game of the season, we were further along than I thought we were going to be,” Donaldson said. “I was surprised at how well we played during the first 18 points of each game, but we kind of fell apart after that.”
The visiting Racers did finish all three games strong en route to a 25-18, 25-20, 25-21 straight sets victory over the RedStorm, Saturday afternoon, at the Newt Oliver Arena.
UNOH, which improved to 5-0 all-time against Rio, scored eight of the final nine points and each of the final six points to win the opening game, while closing game two on a 15-5 run and game three on a 6-2 swing.
“We made adjustments, but I think we made them a little too late,” said Donaldson. “There were some nerves, but they weren’t as bad as I thought.”
Chanel Cantere led the Racers with 14 kills and nine digs, while Lauren Maxwell had 33 assists, six kills and five digs. Calley Hawkins added eight kills, while Megan Fullenkamp and Brittany Egbert had seven kills each.
Rio Grande got 12 digs from freshman Chandler Brown (Beaver, OH) and 21 assists from fellow freshman Kayla Briley (Marion, OH), while sophomore Alex Phillips (Williamsport, OH) had seven kills. The RedStorm finished with just a .137 hitting percentage.
“(UNOH) did a pretty good job of covering up (Rio junior outside hitter) Betsy Schramm and that took us out of our game,” Donaldson said.
Rio Grande returns to action on Tuesday, September 3, when rival Shawnee State University visits in the Mid-South Conference opener for both schools.