Rio Grande Sports Information
CINCINNATI, Ohio - After cruising to an easy win over Indiana University Southeast in the quarterfinal round of the River States Conference Volleyball Tournament on Friday night, the University of Rio Grande found itself on the opposite side of the same scenario just 18 hours later.
Indiana University Kokomo rolled to a first set win, rallied to take set two and then finished off a 25-15, 26-24, 25-11 semifinal round sweep of the RedStorm at Cincinnati Christian University's Jill Rendel Court.
The Cougars, the top seed out of the RSC West Division, avenged a regular season loss to Rio and improved to 25-7 with the victory.
The win also sent IUK to the tourney title game against Asbury University, which eliminated host Cincinnati Christian in Saturday's first semifinal match.
Rio Grande, the No. 2 seed from the RSC East, finished its season at 23-14 with the loss.
The RedStorm never led in the opening set, as the Cougars scored the first four points of the match and were never headed.
Rio opened up a 15-9 lead in set two and still led 24-21 after a kill by freshman Patricia Dennis (Celina, OH), but IUK sandwiched a pair of Elyse Younger kills around a RedStorm attack error to tie the score and got consecutive kills by Lindi Thomas to complete the comeback and take a commanding lead.
Rio Grande never led in set three, committing half of match total 20 attack errors, as the Cougars scored six of the first seven points in the set and never looked back. The RedStorm got no closer than four points after IUK's set-opening surge.
Junior Aleah Pelphrey (Piketon, OH) had nine kills to lead Rio Grande at the net, while senior Kayla Briley (Marion, OH) had a match-best 25 assists to go along with 10 digs.
Senior Chandler Brown (Stockdale, OH) and Pelphrey added 16 and 11 digs, respectively, for the RedStorm, while freshman Rachael Gilkey (Nelsonville, OH) had five block assists.
McKenna Lundy had 11 kills to lead a balanced attack up front for the Cougars, while Casey Colgate and Mary Westover tallied 23 and 18 assists, respectively, in the winning effort.
Kaleigh Ensley had 18 digs and Keeana Walton had three blocks (1 solo, 2 assists) for IUK.
Saturday's loss marked the final collegiate contest in the careers of Briley, Brown and Autumn Snider (Marion, OH). Briley and Brown leave as Rio's all-time leaders in assists and digs, respectively, while Snider also enjoyed a milestone earlier this season by becoming the 13th member of the school's 1,000-kill club.