RIO GRANDE, Ohio — The University of Rio Grande spotted visiting Kentucky Christian University an early lead before roaring back to post a 3-1 win over the Knights, Tuesday night, in non-conference volleyball action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The RedStorm earned the victory by scores of 23-25, 25-13, 27-25, 25-17.
Rio Grande snapped a brief two-game losing slide and improved to 2-3 with the win.
Kentucky Christian, which had won each of its previous two outings against the RedStorm, dropped to 0-6 with the loss.
The Knights took set one, using a 4-0 run to snap a 17-all tie and take a lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
KCU trailed by as many as eight points early in set two before methodically closing the gap to 16-13, but Rio evened the match by scoring each of the final nine winners.
The RedStorm led 21-18 in set three after a dual block by junior Baylee Pursifull (New Carlisle, OH) and senior Kinnison Donaldson (Jackson, OH), but the Knights came off the mat with six straight points to take a 24-21 lead and set up a set point.
An error on the subsequent serve kept Rio alive and two other KCU set points were erased by errors, allowing Rio to score the final three winners in the stanza to take a 2-1 match lead.
The RedStorm bolted to 15-6 lead in the final set and the Knights got no closer than six points on four separate occasions the rest of the way.
Rio Grande finished with a .234 attack percentage, including a .391 mark in the second stanza thanks to 10 kills and just one error in 23 attempts.
Kentucky Christian started well at the net with 17 kills and only one error in 41 first-set swings for a .391 percentage, but finished with only 26 kills to 18 errors over the final three sets for a .167 match percentage.
Junior Rachael Gilkey (Nelsonville, OH) led a trio of Rio players who reached double-digits in kills with 13, while freshman Malorie Colwell (London, OH) had 12 kills and 13 digs and Donaldson finished with 11 kills.
Junior Macy Roell (Farmersville, OH) tallied 40 assists and 19 digs in the winning effort, while senior Katie Hemsley (Jackson, OH) and junior Ryan Stoffel (Englewood, OH) had 25 and 10 digs, respectively.
Pursifull also had one solo block and five block assists.
Kiahana Holmen and Kristen Upshaw-Mendoza had 14 and 13 kills, respectively, for KCU, while Holmen also had 20 digs.
Darby Flickinger added 39 assists in a losing cause for the Knights, while Avery Crum and Olivia Barrett finished with 18 and 16 digs, respectively.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday as part of a tri-match at the University of Cincinnati-Clermont in Batavia, Ohio.
Rio will met UC-Clermont at noon and Penn State University-Dubois at 2 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.