RIO GRANDE, Ohio — If you looked at the numbers prior to first serve, Indiana University East was supposed to defeat the University of Rio Grande – easily.
And while the Red Wolves did emerge victorious in the end, the victory proved to be anything but easy.
IU East rebounded from a set two loss to the RedStorm by pulling away late in each of the final two sets for a 3-1 (25-19, 16-25, 25-17, 25-21) win, Friday night, in River States Conference volleyball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The Red Wolves, who strengthened their lead in the RSC East Division, improved to 22-6 overall and 11-2 in league play with a fourth straight victory.
Rio Grande, which suffered a sixth straight loss, dropped to 6-20 overall and 2-11 inside the conference.
IU East scored four of the final five points to close out the first set, but the RedStorm responded by scoring 15 of the final 19 points in the second stanza to even the match.
Set three was tied at 12-12 before the Red Wolves reeled off 13 of the final 18 winners to regain the lead and a Rio service error kickstarted a 7-3 run to finish out set four and close the match.
Sophie Rogers and Lexi Gentry had nine kills each to lead IU East, while Cali Topolski recorded a match-best 37 assists and Taylor McKinney finished with a match-high 23 digs. Gentry also had 15 digs and Rogers added a solo block and four block assists.
Samantha Wigfield and Maria Brasel contributed 18 and 10 digs, respectively, for the Red Wolves.
Sophomore Baylee Pursifull (New Carlisle, OH) had a match-high 10 kills in a losing cause for Rio Grande, while sophomore Macy Roell (Farmersville, OH) finished with 23 assists and 13 digs and junior Katie Hemsley (Jackson, OH) had a match-best 23 digs.
Freshman Abbey Ansel (Hilliard, OH) also had 13 digs for the RedStorm, who actually finished with a better attack percentage than the Red Wolves (.141 to .127).
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.