LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Rio Grande volleyball team overcame a slow start and rallied to post a 3-1 (22-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-11) win over the University of the Cumberlands, Friday morning, in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-South Conference Tournament at the MidAmerica Sports Center.
The third-seeded RedStorm, who improved to 21-9 with the victory, advance to Saturday morning’s semifinal round where they’ll face No. 2 seed Lindsey Wilson in a 10 a.m. first serve. The winner of that match moves on to the tourney title game on Saturday at 5 p.m.
Cumberlands, the No. 6 seed, suffered its second loss in as many meetings with the RedStorm this season and finished at 19-12.
Rio held a 19-18 lead in the opening game, but the Patriots scored seven of the final 10 points to grab the early advantage.
The RedStorm managed just a .064 hitting percentage in the opening game.
The final three games proved to be much different.
Rio enjoyed big leads in each game and head coach Billina Donaldson’s team saw its hitting percentage gradually increase the rest of way, jumping to .279 in the second game, to .302 in the third game and to .349 in the final game.
Senior outside hitter Whitney Smith piled up a match-high 24 kills and 28 digs to lead the winning effort, while senior middle blocker Erin Sherman added 15 kills of her own and four blocks.
Sophomore Betsy Schramm (Marietta, OH) finished with 12 kills, while junior setters Kayla Landaker and Kelsey Martin had 28 and 26 assists, respectively. Senior defensive specialist/libero Lauren Raines contributed 14 digs in the win.
Cassie Kalman had 11 kills and Abby Dundron handed out 20 assists for Cumberlands. The Patriots also received 14 assists and 13 digs from Samantha Stuckwisch, while Chelsea Hendrix and Kelsey Dew added 27 and 10 digs, respectively.
Saturday’s semifinal round opponent, Lindsey Wilson, advanced with a 3-1 win over St. Catharine College. The Blue Raiders posted a 3-1 win against Rio in their only regular season meeting at an MSC Crossover event hosted by Shawnee State.