RIO GRANDE, Ohio — Errors — both physical and mental, some forced and others unforced — have been the constants in a season full of struggles for the University of Rio Grande volleyball team.
Tuesday night’s return home following a weekend road swing to northern California proved to be the latest chapter in the RedStorm’s book of frustration.
Despite finishing with two more kills than visiting Kentucky Christian University, Rio Grande proved to be its own worst enemy in a 3-1 non-conference loss to the Knights at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The Knights — who had just seven players see action — earned their seventh win in eight outings with a 25-13, 24-26, 25-18, 25-19 victory.
Rio Grande slipped to 3-11 with the loss.
The RedStorm finished with a 38-36 edge in kills over the course of the four-set affair, but came unwound as a result of 61 total miscues (20 attack errors, eight service errors, 14 reception errors, nine blocking errors and 10 ball-handling errors).
Rio Grande trailed just 12-8 midway through the opening set before KCU used a 7-2 run to blow things open and grab an early lead.
The RedStorm rebounded in set two, though, scoring nine of the final 13 points in the period to rally from a 20-17 deficit and even the match at 1-1.
Set three was deadlocked at 10-10 before an 8-2 run gave KCU all the momentum it would need to regain the advantage, while a 6-1 spurt in set four produced a commanding 20-14 advantage for the Knights and an eventual win of the match.
Kiahna Holmen had a team-high 12 kills to go along with 14 digs in Kentucky Christian’s winning effort, while Reilly Hack finished with a match-best 34 assists and Olivia Barrett had 15 digs.
Avery Crum and Sarah Grindrod added 12 digs apiece for the Knights, while Crum had five service aces and Grindrod tallied four aces of her own.
Senior Aleah Pelphrey (Piketon, OH) had a match-high 17 kills in a losing cause for Rio, while freshman Carly Shriver (Gallipolis, OH) and freshman Ryanne Stoffel (Englewood, OH) had 16 and 13 assists, respectively, and sophomore Katie Hemsley (Jackson, OH) had 16 digs.
Pelphrey and Shriver tacked on 12 and 10 digs, respectively, for the RedStorm.
Rio Grande will enjoy a week-long hiatus before traveling to Ohio Christian University for its River States Conference opener Tuesday.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.