RIO GRANDE, Ohio — In a match where something had to give, things finally fell in favor of the University of Rio Grande.
The RedStorm snapped a six-match losing streak and avenged a disappointing loss at Ohio Christian University earlier this season with a 3-1 victory over the Trailblazers, Saturday afternoon, in River States Conference volleyball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Rio Grande upped its record to 7-20 overall and 3-11 in conference play with the win.
The RedStorm moved to within a half-game of Carlow University for the fourth and final post-season spot in the league’s East Division.
The Celtics will host Rio next Friday with the winner likely earning a tourney berth and the loser likely out.
Ohio Christian which, like Rio, entered Saturday’s match mired in a 10-game losing streak, slipped to 2-19 overall and 1-13 in league play with an 11th straight loss.
Rio Grande trailed by as many as six points twice in the opening frame and found itself still staring at a 19-17 deficit before scoring eight of the final 10 winners to take the set and grab the early match lead.
The RedStorm never trailed in set two, scoring the first three points to grab an early lead and scoring nine of the final 11 points to win going away.
Rio appeared headed to a straight sets sweep, grabbing a 20-11 advantage in the third stanza, but the Trailblazers scored seven straight points to close the gap before collecting six of the final seven winners in the set to force a fourth period.
OCU led 7-6 early in the fourth, but the RedStorm reeled off three straight winners to take a lead they would never relinquish and finished things off by scoring six of the final seven points.
Freshman Ashley Taylor (Chillicothe, OH) tied a career-high with 16 kills to pace Rio’s winning effort, while sophomore Macy Roell (Farmersville, OH) had a match-high 23 assists and junior Katie Hemsley (Jackson, OH) finished with a match-high 22 digs.
The RedStorm also got 15 digs and 11 assists from sophomore Ryanne Stoffel (Englewood, OH), 10 digs from sophomore Carly Shriver (Gallipolis, OH), two solo blocks and two block assists from freshman Jess Youse (Pettisville, OH) and three service aces from freshman Abbey Ansel (Hilliard, OH).
Ohio Christian was led by Karee Neff’s 13 kills, while Katie Bush chipped in with 22 assists and 13 digs and Kiara Rohrer had 20 digs.
Autumn Paugh added 17 assists and Brooke Mazzocca had 12 digs in a losing cause for the Trailblazers.
Rio’s game with Carlow next Friday is slated for a 7 p.m. kickoff in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.