CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio — A late rally in set one lit the fire for Ohio Christian University and the host Trailblazers went on to post a 3-0 win over the University of Rio Grande, Tuesday night, in the River States Conference volleyball opener for both schools at the Maxwell Center.
OCU collected its eight win in 14 overall outings with a 26-24, 25-23, 25-18 triumph over the RedStorm.
Rio Grande slipped to 3-12 overall with the loss.
The RedStorm enjoyed a 24-21 lead late in a back-and-forth opening set, but the Trailblazers reeled off the final five points of the stanza to grab an early advantage.
Rio Grande also had a 5-4 cushion early in the second set before OCU reeled off nine consecutive points to take a commanding lead.
The Trailblazers saw the RedStorm use an 8-1 run to draw within 22-21, but a service error by Rio kickstarted a 3-2 spurt by OCU to close the set and give the home team a 2-0 match lead.
OCU reeled off four straight points in set three to take a 13-8 lead and the RedStorm got no closer than three points of a tie – on two occasions – the rest of the way.
The Trailblazers parlayed a 7-0 run later in the set to take a 24-14 advantage and, after a pair of Rio kills and two OCU errors, the Blazers finished off the sweep with a kill of their own.
Megan Morrison had a match-high 10 kills to go along with 20 digs in the winning effort for OCU, while Karee Neff had 23 digs and three service aces. Katie Bush and Olivia Wireman added 13 assists apiece for the Trailblazers.
Senior Aleah Pelphrey (Piketon, OH) had nine kills and 12 digs in a losing cause for Rio Grande, while sophomore Katie Hemsley (Jackson, OH) had 20 digs of her own. Freshmen Ryanne Stoffel (Englewood, OH) and Carly Shriver (Gallipolis, OH) had 14 and 10 assists, respectively, while sophomore Patricia Dennis (Celina, OH) had one solo block and three block assists.
Rio Grande will look for a rebound effort on Wednesday night when it returns to action against the University of Pikeville in a non-conference match. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.