BECKLEY, W.Va. — West Virginia University-Tech coughed up an early lead, but rebounded over the final two sets to post a 3-1 win (25-23, 15-25, 25-17, 25-20) over the University of Rio Grande, Tuesday night, in River States Conference women’s volleyball action at Van Meter Gymnasium.
The Golden Bears, who defeated the RedStorm for the third time in as many meetings this season, moved to 11-14 overall and 7-4 in league play with the victory.
Rio Grande, which had a two-game win streak snapped, slipped to 7-12 overall and 5-6 in league play with the loss. Head coach Billina Donaldson’s squad also stayed winless on the road, dropping to 0-7.
Rio’s only lead in the opening set came at 2-1, although the RedStorm stayed close throughout and pulled to within 24-23 following a kill by sophomore Shalea Byrd (Canal Winchester, OH) to cap a 3-0 spurt. WVU-Tech sealed the set victory, though, with a kill by Ariana Gentzler on the enusing serve.
Rio Grande rebounded in the second stanza, leading from start to finish thanks to a .423 attack percentage (14 kills, 3 errors, 26 attacks), but the Golden Bears gathered themselves and rebounded over each of the next two stanzas.
The Golden Bears led just 14-13 in set three following a kill by Rio sophomore Amanda Rarick (Canal Winchester, OH), but Tech took control by scoring the next six winners and 11 of the final 15 points.
Rio had a 9-8 lead in set four until a 7-1 WVU-Tech run put the hosts in front for good. The RedStorm thrice sliced the deficit to two points, including 22-20, but consecutive kills by the Golden Bears’ Coralys Maldonado Rivera and a Rio attack error sealed the match win for Tech.
Ana Muniz Rocandio had a match-best 18 kills to go along with 13 digs for WVU-Tech, while Gentzler finished with 16 kills of her own and Julia McClanahan had 45 assists.
Valentina Abondano added a match-best 18 digs foe the Golden Bears.
Rarick and Byrd paced Rio Grande up front with 15 and 14 kills, respectively, while junior Jess Youse (Pettisville, OH) finished with 13 kills.
Freshman Avery Huntzinger (Canal Winchester, OH) had a team-high 44 assists and 14 digs in a losing cause, while sophomore Darcie Walters (Sparta, OH) had 13 digs of her own for the RedStorm, who actually had a better swing percentage for the match (.240) than the Golden Bears (.229).
Rio Grande is scheduled to return to action on Friday night when it opens a three-game homestand — the final three home contests of the season — against St. Mary-of-the-Woods College. First serve is set for 7 p.m.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande.