Rio Drops Five-Setter 3-2 After Controversial Call

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The Rio Grande RedStorm lost their Mid-South Conference opener in a five-set match to the Shawnee State Bears 23-25, 25-20, 26-28, 25-15, 15-11.

The Bears won a dramatic fifth set after a controversial call left the RedStorm (0-2, 0-1) deflated. The final set saw Shawnee State grab a 15-11 lead and, thus, the match.

“I don’t think it ended the way it should have,” said Rio head coach Billina Donaldson.

Donaldson said she felt both teams made mistakes and there were crucial calls that changed momentum at important points in the game.

The RedStorm and Bears went back and forth in the first set. The largest lead in the set was when Rio led 7-3 early on in the set. Late in the set, the score was tied at 23-23, the sixth tie of the set. But the RedStorm rallied to take the next two points to win the set 25-23.

In the second set, the RedStorm jumped out to an early 2-0 lead but that would be their only lead of the set. Shawnee State took a 14-7 lead midway through the set, but Rio would go on to take 10 of the next 13 points to tie the game at 17-17. But the Bears snatched the lead again and went on to win the set 25-20.

The RedStorm dominated the Bears early on in the third set.  Rio had a 21-14 lead late, but the Bears rallied to tie the set at 25-25. Despite the comeback by Shawnee State, the RedStorm refused to let the Bears steal the set by winning three of the next four points 28-26.

The fourth set was all Shawnee State. Its lead was no less than four throughout most of the set and the Bears went on to win it 25-15 to force a fifth.

The final set was a close one until late in the set. With the RedStorm trailing 8-9, they were called for a controversial lift that caused the crowd to erupt and seemed to crush Rio’s spirit. They dropped six of the next nine points to lose the set and the match. The Bears won the final set by a score of 15-11.

“It was just hard getting into the system against them,” said Donaldson.

Donaldson was happy with her team’s blocking Tuesday stating that they had more blocks against Shawnee State than in 15 games last season. Donaldson said she would like to see Betsy Schramm get more one-on-one opportunities as she felt the Bears were keying on her spikes with double teams.

The RedStorm look to rebound Wednesday night, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m. when they host the West Virginia Institute of Technology (0-5) at the Newt Oliver Arena.