PORTSMOUTH, Ohio – Host Shawnee State scored five of the final six points in the match to rally for a 3-2 win over the University of Rio Grande, Thursday night, in non-conference volleyball action at the Frank & Janis Waller Gymnasium.
The Bears outlasted the RedStorm in a see-saw affair by scores of 25-21, 25-27, 25-22, 15-25, 15-13.
Shawnee State (5-22), which improved to 13-11 all-time against Rio, avenged an earlier loss to the RedStorm and stopped a three-match losing slide.
Rio Grande, which had an eight-match winning streak snapped, slipped to 17-11 on the season.
Shawnee appeared on its way to 2-0 match lead after winning the opening set and taking a 17-8 edge in set two, but the RedStorm reeled off 14 of the next 18 points to take the advantage and, eventually, the set.
The Bears mounted a rally of their own in set three by storming back from a 14-8 hole to regain the match lead before Rio cruised to the win in set four to force the deciding stanza.
Shawnee grabbed an 8-6 lead in the fifth, but a 6-2 run by the RedStorm gave Rio a 12-10 lead and set the stage for the Bears’ final victory-clinching rally.
Lauren Helbig tallied a match-best 23 kills for SSU, while Brianna Wiget and Miranda Clark added 13 and 10 kills, respectively.
Deanna Smith recorded 40 assists in the win, Rhyanna Day had 23 digs and Bonnie Huesing had 12 assists for the Bears.
Rio Grande had six players with double digit kills. Senior Autumn Snider (Marion, OH) and junior Aleah Pelphrey (Piketon, OH) had 14 apiece, freshman Patricia Dennis (Celina, OH) totaled 12, freshman Marley Hanzel (Wheelersburg, OH) finished with 11 and the duo of senior Kayla Briley (Marion, OH) and freshman Rachael Gilkey (Nelsonville, OH) had 10 each.
Briley also had 54 assists and 23 digs in a losing cause, while fellow senior Chandler Brown (Stockdale, OH) had a match-high 35 digs.
Pelphrey added 21 digs and freshman Katie Hemsley (Jackson, OH) had 11 of her own in the loss.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday, traveling to Cincinnati Christian University for a River States Conference Crossover event.
The RedStorm will face Indiana University Kokomo at 2 p.m. before battling the host Eagles in the 4 p.m. finale.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director for the University of Rio Grande.