LIMA, Ohio – University of Rio Grande head volleyball coach Billina Donaldson and her team had hoped for a successful start to the 2012 campaign.
Unfortunately, the University of Northwestern Ohio refused to follow the script.
The Racers proved to ungracious hosts, rolling to a 3-1 (25-21, 25-12, 25-27, 25-19) win over the RedStorm, Wednesday night, at Racers Gymnasium.
UNOH, which defeated Huntington (IN) University earlier in the night, improved its overall mark to 6-1 with the victory.
Rio Grande trailed most of the opening set before rallying to forge a 19-19 tie, but the Racers scored six of the final eight points to take the set.
UNOH continued its momentum in set two, reeling off 10 straight points and 14 of 16 winners to snap an early 2-2 tie.
The RedStorm held an 18-14 lead late in the third set, but watched the Racers rally again to grab a 22-21 advantange before bouncing back themselves to claim the set and avoid a sweep.
Rio’s comeback bid fizzled in the fourth set, though, as UNOH pulled away down the stretch to seal the victory.
Senior outside hitter Whitney Smith led the RedStorm with 16 kills and two service aces, while also notching 15 digs. Senior middle blocker Erin Sherman added 13 kills and a team-best seven blocks, while senior libero Lauren Raines had a club-high 20 digs.
Senior setter Kayla Landaker and junior setter Kelsey Martin finished with 16 assists apiece, while junior defensive specialist Nicole Ogg (Albany, OH) chipped in with 11 digs.
The RedStorm open the home portion of their schedule this weekend, entertaining Lourdes University on Friday at 7 p.m. inside the Newt Oliver Arena before facing Union (Ky.) College and Cincinnati Christian University on Saturday, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.
Lourdes is looking to snap a five-match losing streak after opening the season with four wins in its first five outings. The Gray Wolves are coming off a 3-2 loss at Siena Heights University on Wednesday night.
Head coach Greg Reitz’s team is led by freshman outside hitter Katie McKenty, who has piled up 130 kills, 71 digs and 15 blocks in the first 10 matches of the season, and freshman setter Michi Jiminez, who has a team-high 127 assists and 122 digs.
Others to watch for the Gray Wolves include sophomore setter Shauna Miller, who has 115 assists; junior middle blocker Andrea Brown, who leads the team with 27 blocks and 11 service aces; and sophomore middle blocker Amelia Horton, who has 17 blocks.
Friday’s match will be the first-ever between the RedStorm and Lourdes.
Randy Payton is the Sports Information Director at the University of Rio Grande. For more information on URG athletics, visit the web at www.rioredstorm.com