MARION, Ind. — After getting a win earlier in the week to get back to the .500 mark, the University of Rio Grande volleyball team suffered losses in each of their four outings over the weekend at the IWU Labor Day Challenge hosted by Indiana Wesleyan University.
The RedStorm dropped a 3-1 decision to Marian (Ind.) and fell 3-2 at the hands of St. Francis (Ind.) on Friday, before dropping consecutive 3-0 tallies to host Indiana Wesleyan and Bethel (Ind.).
Rio’s run in the two-day event started well with a 25-23 opening-set win over Marian, but the Knights roared back to take the match with wins of 25-19, 25-14 and 25-18.
Sophomore right-side hitter/middle blocker Autumn Snider (Marion, OH) led the RedStorm along the net with eight kills, while junior middle blocker Alex Phillips (Williamsport, OH) had one solo block and six block assists.
Sophomore setter/outside hitter Kayla Briley (Marion, OH) added 28 assists and sophomore outside hitter/defensive specialist Chandler Brown (Beaver, OH) finished with 27 digs in a losing cause.
McKenzie Mason had 11 kills, while Ericka Ham and Lauren Gregory added 10 kills each for Marian. The winning effort also included 23 assists from Maddie Heidenreich, 18 assists from Julie Hoying and 19 digs from Taylor Greenan.
Friday’s finale saw the RedStorm rally from an early deficit only to fall in the fifth and deciding set as St. Francis posted a 25-18, 25-20, 21-25, 16-25, 15-5 triumph.
Rio Grande had just 10 more kills (42) than it did attack errors (32) and finished the match with just a .057 attack percentage.
Briley finished with 31 assists and 13 digs, while Brown had 34 digs and Phillips recorded 10 kills.
Senior outside hitter Betsy Schramm (Marietta, OH) and junior defensive specialist/setter Dani Brannon contributed 13 and 11 digs, respectively, in a losing cause, while freshman right-side hitter Aleah Pelphrey (Piketon, OH) had two solo blocks and two block assists.
Things didn’t go any better for Rio in Saturday’s opener against 20th-ranked Indiana Wesleyan, with the host Wildcats cruising to a 25-17, 25-19, 25-13 victory.
The RedStorm again had just 25 kills compared to 17 attack errors (.073), while IWU tallied a .282 attack percentage as a result of 41 kills and just 12 errors.
Brown had 21 digs and Briley an equal number of assists in the loss, while Brannon added 13 digs and Phillips had eight kills.
Freshman outside hitter Madison Wilson (Groveport, OH) had two solo blocks for the RedStorm.
Katey Holler had 24 assists and three service aces for Indiana Wesleyan, while Alijah Mulitauopele had 11 kills and Kelly Cypher had 13 digs.
The Wildcats also got 12 assists from Emily Workman and 11 digs from Morgan Miller in the win.
Head coach Billina Donaldson’s squad closed out the classic with a 26-24, 25-17, 25-16 setback against Bethel.
Briley had 23 assists to lead Rio, while Brown and Schramm added 20 and 16 digs, respectively, and Phillips had seven kills.
Aubrey Husak led Bethel with 11 kills, while Sami Leach had 31 assists, Amanda Moyer had 17 digs and Haley Brown finished with three block assists.
Rio Grande (3-7) will return to action on Friday at rival Shawnee State University. The RedStorm will face the host Bears at 5 p.m. before squaring off with Montreat (N.C.) College at 7 p.m.