JACKSON, Ohio — The early season struggles of the University of Rio Grande volleyball team continued on Saturday, as the RedStorm dropped straight sets decisions to Marian (Ind.) University and Mount Vernon Nazarene University in the final round of the Emileigh Cooper Memorial Tournament at Jackson High School.
Rio fell to Marian by scores of 25-25, 25-12, 25-20 and lost to MVNU 25-21, 25-18, 25-20.
The losses, which came to the two teams who finished the two-day event unbeaten, ran Rio’s losing streak to five consecutive matches and left the RedStorm at 1-8 for the season.
Sophomore Patricia Dennis (Celina, OH) led Rio at the net in the loss to Marian, tallying seven kills. Freshmen Ashton Ward (Chillicothe, OH) and Ryanne Stoffel (Englewood, OH) had 10 assists each, while Stoffel added a team-high 13 digs in a losing cause.
Marian’s balanced attack at the net – the Knights had four players with five or more kills – was led by Kacee Salyers’ eight kills. Julie Hoying had 17 assists and Madi Heffron added 15 of her own for the Knights, who were among the teams who received votes but narrowly missed the NAIA preseason coaches’ Top 25 poll.
Salyers also finished with nine service aces in the win, while Vanessa Lay had 15 digs.
Senior Aleah Pelphrey (Piketon, OH) had a team-best eight kills and 12 digs in the loss to Mount Vernon Nazarene, while freshman Carly Shriver (Gallipolis, OH) and Stoffel tallied 14 and 13 assists, respectively.
Dennis had two solo blocks and two block assists in a losing cause for the RedStorm.
Kristen Osburn had 13 kills to go along with 13 digs for the Cougars, while Katelyn Dufur had a match-best 24 assists and Ashley Gingerich had 19 digs.
MVNU also got 12 digs from Casey Bunner and Alyson Near finished with one solo block and four block assists.
Rio Grande will look to end its losing slide on Tuesday night when it hosts Salem (WV) International University in a non-conference tilt. Match time is slated for 7 p.m.