RIO GRANDE, Ohio — A third set rally by the University of Rio Grande against visiting Point Park University transformed the RedStorm faithful in attendance into thoughts of a dramatic comeback.
But the Pioneers wasted little time in re-establishing themselves in set four and went back about the business of spoiling Rio’s River States Conference home opener.
Point Park scored 13 of the first 15 points in the fourth stanza and went on to close out a 3-1 (25-17, 25-14, 22-25, 25-11) victory over the RedStorm, Tuesday night, at the Newt Oliver Arena.
The Pioneers improved to 12-8 overall and 2-2 in conference play with the win.
Rio Grande slipped to 3-14 overall and 0-2 in the RSC with a fourth straight loss.
The RedStorm were limited to their second-lowest attack percentage of the season (.029) and committed 54 combined errors for the match.
Point Park never trailed in either of the opening two sets, but needed a 7-0 run to erase Rio’s early 8-3 lead and finally grab the advantage in set three.
The Pioneers extended their cushion to as many as four points after a kill by Erica Gumz made it 16-12, but the RedStorm caught fire again and scored 13 of the final 19 points in the set to force a fourth stanza.
However, that fire was quickly snuffed out.
Point Park scored five of the first six points in the fourth before a kill by Rio senior Aleah Pelphrey (Piketon, OH) got the RedStorm within 5-2. The Pioneers answered by reeling off eight straight points and led by no less than eight points the rest of way en route to sealing the victory.
Gumz and Meg Reineke had 12 and 10 kills, respectively, for PPU, while Julia Menosky had 36 assists and 17 digs and Reineke added 17 digs of her own to the winning effort.
Morgan Dangelo had a team-high 19 digs for the Pioneers, who committed nine of their 14 attack errors for the match in the third set, while Jordan Dixon had 10 digs.
Pelphrey and sophomore Patricia Dennis (Celina, OH) had nine kills each to pace Rio Grande, while freshman Ryanne Stoffel (Englewood, OH) had 13 assists and fellow frosh Carly Shriver (Gallipolis, OH) had 11 assists and 13 digs.
The RedStorm also got a team-high 18 digs from sophomore Katie Hemsley (Jackson, OH) and 14 digs from Pelphrey.
Rio Grande returns to action on Saturday in an RSC Crossover event at Brescia University. The RedStorm will face Indiana University Southeast at 3 p.m., then squares off with the host Bearcats at approximately 5 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.