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 Grand Rapids Rise

Battle-Tested Rise Secure 3-1 Road Victory Over Vegas

April 21, 2024 - Pro Volleyball Federation (PVF)
Grand Rapids Rise News Release

Grand Rapids Rise celebrate win
Grand Rapids Rise celebrate win
(Grand Rapids Rise, Credit: Jordan Anders/Vegas Thrill)

HENDERSON, Nev. - Facing both travel fatigue and an untimely injury to one of their star players, the Grand Rapids Rise pushed through adversity Saturday night to defeat the Vegas Thrill in four sets by set scores of 25-23, 25-20, 23-25, 25-22.

The Rise (10-9 overall) have won four out of their last five matches in the past 10 days. Grand Rapids concluded the roughly 6,575-mile multi-stop journey over the last week and a half by winning the fourth set against the Thrill without opposite hitter Emiliya Dimitrova. The 17-year veteran missed her first set this entire season after injuring her ankle trying to close out on a block late in the third set.

The depth on the Grand Rapids bench prevailed, as Morgahn Fingall stepped up in Dimitrova's absence with 11 kills and no attack errors on 15 swings (.733). Fingall, playing in just her eighth and ninth sets of the season, set a new Rise single-match record for the highest attack percentage (minimum 10 attack attempts). She also had three digs and a block.

Fingall was one of three Rise players to finish with double-digit kills alongside Dimitrova (13, .241) and Claire Chaussee (13, .163). Grand Rapids hit .245 as a team for its third-best mark in a road match this season.

This Rise created a four-point cushion early in the opening set, 10-6, and kept that advantage to the first media timeout, 15-11. A cross-court set from Ashley Evans to Dimitrova led to a Grand Rapids kill and a Vegas timeout with the Rise up 20-14. The Thrill responded by scoring the next four points to get back within two, 20-18. In crunch time, kills from Chaussee and Dimitrova made the final difference, 25-23.

Dimitrova (4.36) and Chaussee (4.07) entered the match ranked first and third, respectively, in kills per set for the League. They both surpassed that mark in the first set with Dimitrova getting six kills (.273) and Chaussee adding five (.444). Rise middle blocker Marin Grote also had an eventful first frame with four points (two blocks, one ace, and a kill). She finished with seven kills (.429) and a team-high three blocks.

Grand Rapids used a 6-0 run to take control of the second set. This spurt to go ahead 14-11 included a couple of Vegas miscues, kills from Dimitrova (two) and Erika Pritchard, and a second ace from Evans. The Thrill never got closer than two points as the Rise rolled to a 25-20 win to take a 2-0 lead. It's the third time in four matches this season that Grand Rapids has won the first two sets against Vegas. The other two matches went five sets.

Middle blocker Molly Lohman was inserted into the rotation for the first time to start the third set, making her second appearance with the team after being signed on April 15. The Rise had to make another change when Dimitrova got injured while putting up a block with Lohman. Dimitrova didn't return in the match after getting 13 kills and 18 digs. Rise first-round draft pick, Fingall, filled in as the opposite hitter. Fingall made an immediate impact with two kills in the third set but also made a serving error on set point, giving Vegas a 25-23 win to keep the match going.

Another close frame ensued. Tied at 22-22 in the fourth set, Grand Rapids scored the final three points off a pair of Chaussee kills and a match-ending solo block from Evans. The Rise setter also had 51 assists, 12 digs, and two aces.

Vegas finished with five more blocks (14-9), but Grand Rapids collected 18 more digs (77-59). Rise libero Camila Gómez finished with a match-high 20 digs and has now reached double-digit digs in five consecutive matches. Gómez provided five assists as well.


Grand Rapids improved to 14-5 in opening sets with a +55 point differential.

After taking the first frame, 25-23, the Rise had won their fourth straight set that was decided by the minimum of two points. The streak, however, came to an end when Vegas took the third set by the same score, 25-23.

Fingall had nine of the Rise's 15 kills in the fourth set. Coming into the contest, she had only four kills and seven attack errors on 16 swings (-.188) across six matches played.

The Thrill hit .211 with three players reaching double figures in kills: Khat Bell (14, .243), Gabby Gonzales (11, .290), and Hannah Maddux (11, .176).

New Vegas addition Payton Caffrey recorded her first Pro Volleyball Federation kill at the end of the third set. She signed with the team on April 16.

Box Score

GR 25 25 23 25 - 3

VG 23 20 25 22 - 1

Team Leaders

GR: Kills - Emiliya Dimitrova 13, Claire Chaussee 13, Morgahn Fingall 11; Assists - Ashley Evans 51, Camila Gómez 5; Aces - Evans 2, Marin Grote 1; Blocks - Grote 3, Pritchard 2; Digs - Gómez 20, Dimitrova 18, Evans 12, Chaussee 11.

VG: Kills - Khat Bell 14, Hannah Maddux 11, Gabby Gonzales 11; Assists - Alisha Glass Childress 42, Kylie Murr 4; Aces - Bell 1, Layne Van Buskirk 1, Gonzales 1, Kenna Sauer 1; Blocks - Berkeley Oblad 5, Glass Childress 3, Maddux 3; Digs - Murr 15, Bell 14, Glass Childress 14.

Record / Next Match

Grand Rapids: 10-9 / Fri., April 26 at Omaha Supernovas, 9:30 p.m.

Vegas: 6-13 / Fri., April 26 at San Diego Mojo, 10 p.m.

Images from this story

Grand Rapids Rise celebrate win
Grand Rapids Rise celebrate win

(Jordan Anders/Vegas Thrill)

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