RICHMOND, Ind. — Indiana University East rebounded from a second set loss and squashed an upset bid by the University of Rio Grande, rolling to a 3-1 victory (25-17, 21-25, 25-17, 25-19) over the RedStorm, Saturday afternoon, in River States Conference volleyball action at Lingle Court.
The host Red Wolves improved to 6-0 overall and 5-0 in league play with the win, strengthening their hold on the top spot in the RSC’s East Division in the process.
Rio Grande, which entered the day 1-1/2 games behind IUE for the division lead, had a three-game winning streak snapped.
The RedStorm (4-3 overall, 2-2 RSC) never led in the opening set as the Red Wolves raced to a 5-2 and didn’t look back, but head coach Billina Donaldson’s squad did manage to even the match by surviving a roller-coaster second stanza.
IU East bolted to an 11-7 lead before Rio reeled off six straight winners, but the Red Wolves rallied to regain a 19-18 advantage.
Rio Grande knotted the score at 20-20 and then scored three consecutive points to take a lead it would never relinquish.
The RedStorm also failed to enjoy a lead in set three, although they trailed just 11-10 before the Red Wolves recorded five consecutive winners to open up some breathing room. Rio got no closer than four points the rest of the way and trailed by as many as 11 points late in the period.
East coughed up an early 6-0 advantage in the fourth set as the RedStorm rallied to take leads of 10-9 and 11-10, but the Red Wolves took the lead once and for all with six straight points and Rio got no closer than four the rest of the way.
Lexi Gentry had 14 kills to lead IU East, which finished with a .233 attack percentage as a team (57 kills, 26 errors, 133 swings). The Red Wolves also tallied one solo block and 20 block assists.
Teah Barrett Matthews had 13 kills and six block assists in the winning effort, while Jessica Swimm had 10 kills and five block assists.
Reece Shirley was credited with 43 assists and three service aces for IUE, while the trio of Shirley, Samantha Wigfield and Sammei Fulkerson-Bird all had eight digs each.
Freshman Amanda Rarick (Canal Winchester, OH) had 13 kills to pace Rio Grande, which managed just a .070 attack percentage (36 kills, 28 errors, 115 attacks).
Senior Macy Roell (Farmersville, OH) had 28 assists and two of the RedStorm’s four service aces, while sophomore Malorie Colwell (London, OH) had a team-high nine digs and the remaining two aces.
Junior Jess Youse (Pettisville, OH) had one solo block and six block assists for Rio.
Rio Grande returns to action on Thursday night at Alice Lloyd College. First serve is set for 7 p.m. in Pippa Passes, Ky.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.