MONTGOMERY, W.Va. — Just three days after having a perfect home record marred with a Senior Day split, the University of Rio Grande found itself playing the role of spoiler.
West Virginia University-Tech honored its two seniors prior to first serve, but it was the RedStorm who then went to work on a 25-13, 25-21, 25-14 rout of the Golden Bears, Tuesday night, in River States Conference volleyball action at the Baisi Athletic Center.
Rio Grande improved to 21-13 overall with the win and finished its RSC regular season slate at 11-5.
The RedStorm will be the No. 2 seed from the RSC East Division and will face the No. 3 seed in the West Division in the quarterfinal round of the conference tournament, which begins Nov. 11 in Cincinnati.
Currently, three schools – Indiana Kokomo, Asbury and Indiana Southeast – are tied for first place in the West Division standings. IU Kokomo and Asbury still have a pair of RSC games remaining on Saturday, including a meeting with each other, meaning that Rio will be forced to wait until the dust settles this weekend to learn the identity of its first round foe.
In Tuesday’s win over Tech, the RedStorm was in control throughout.
The Golden Bears (21-18, 6-10 RSC) grabbed a 4-3 lead in set one before Rio reeled off seven straight points and never looked back.
Tech led 5-1 early in set two, but the RedStorm roared back by scoring 13 of the next 15 points en route to the win.
Set three saw Rio cough up an early 5-0 lead of its own before using a 10-1 spurt to snap a 9-9 tie and finish off the straight sets sweep.
Freshmen Marley Hanzel (Wheelersburg, OH) and Patricia Dennis (Celina, OH) had nine kills each to lead the RedStorm at the net, while senior Kayla Briley (Marion, OH) had 25 assists and senior Chandler Brown (Stockdale, OH) tallied 15 digs.
Senior Autumn Snider (Marion, OH) added a match-best eight blocks (5 solo, 3 assists) in the winning effort.
Carolina Bologna led WVU-Tech with a match-high 10 kills, while Konstantina Pateli had 26 assists and the senior duo of Keyonna Morrow and Michaela Dean had nine digs apiece.
Rio Grande will return to action when it closes out its regular season schedule at home against Kentucky Christian next Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m., at the Newt Oliver Arena.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.