RIO GRANDE, Ohio — After starting strong out of the gate with a promising first set that ended in a close defeat, the University of Rio Grande volleyball team fell flat in the final two sets and was swept by 18th-ranked Georgetown College, Wednesday night,in Mid-South Conference action at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The RedStorm (1-7 overall, 0-6 MSC) dropped their fifth consecutive match and were swept for the fifth time this season.
The first set proved to be a set of runs for the RedStorm, as they found themselves behind 16-8 at one point in the set and then quickly made it a 16-13 after a handful of Georgetown miscues.
The distance stayed steady through the rest of the set until match point stood at 24-20 in favor of Georgetown. Rio mounted a furious 3-0 run to pull within 24-23 with service in their favor, but hopes were quickly dashed as the Tigers put away the set 25-23.
“We had a goal going into tonight. We wanted to give our best effort and be able to come off of the court and say we were satisfied with the way we performed,” said Rio Grande head coach Billina Donaldson. “When you play with the intensity we did against the 18th-ranked team in the country, you have to be satisfied.”
The closest that the RedStorm would be the rest of the match was a 10-9 deficit in the second set, which was promptly thwarted by the Tigers, who eventually took the set 25-16.
Georgetown flexed its muscles in the third set, posting a .517 attacking percentage and taking 18 of the set’s final 24 points for a match-ending 25-11 victory.
“We’re young and we’re going to take our licks,” said Donaldson. “The morale in that locker room right now is high and we feel like we came off the court a better team tonight.”
For Georgetown (14-4, 5-1), the win provided a rebound effort after a four-game tournament split over the weekend.
Leading the way for the RedStorm on the night was sophomore middle blocker Alex Phillips (Williamsport, OH), who recorded seven kills and a respectable .400 attacking percentage for the match. Freshman outside hitter Chandler Brown (Beaver, OH) also pitched in with a seven-kill effort.
Freshman setter Kayla Briley (Marion, OH) continued her helping ways by assisting on 26 kills for the match, while senior defensive specialist Nicole Ogg (Albany, OH) had eight digs to her credit.
For the Tigers, Caraline Maher experienced a huge night with an eight-kill performance that led to a .615 attacking percentage. Allyson Wilbourn also had an eight kills of her own.
Stephanie Gurren tallied 22 helpers on the night, while Kristen Schellhaas recorded eight kills to her stat line.
Rio Grande gets right back into action Thursday evening as they begin a hefty road trip to Cumberland (TN) University for a 7 p.m. EDT first serve.
The RedStorm will then remain at Cumberland over the weekend as they participate in the Cumberland Classic and face the likes of Freed-Hardeman, Ohio Valley University, Tennessee Temple University and Martin Methodist.