Sports stats

 Grand Rapids Rise

Rise Exact Revenge With Road Win Over Thrill

March 27, 2024 - Pro Volleyball Federation (PVF)
Grand Rapids Rise News Release

Vegas Thrill's Ainise Havili and Grand Rapids Rise's Emiliya Dimitrova in action
Vegas Thrill's Ainise Havili and Grand Rapids Rise's Emiliya Dimitrova in action
(Grand Rapids Rise, Credit: Nicolas Carrillo/Rise)

HENDERSON, Nev. - The Grand Rapids Rise dished out some payback Tuesday night by defeating the Vegas Thrill, 3-1, by set scores of 25-22, 24-26, 25-17, 30-28.

The Rise dropped their first contest against the Thrill at home on March 17, with Vegas coming from behind for the first Pro Volleyball Federation reverse-sweep. Grand Rapids got even by putting away the Thrill in four sets inside the Dollar Loan Center for a second straight road win.

Powering the Rise offense was opposite hitter Emiliya Dimitrova, who eclipsed the 20-kill mark for a fifth time this season with a match-high 21 kills (.245) to go with six digs, two blocks, and two assists. Setter Ashley Evans shined as well with 51 assists and 13 digs for her fifth double-double performance of the season.

Dimitrova went off in the first set with eight kills and no attack errors on 11 swings (.727 hitting percentage). The 17-year professional from Shumen, Bulgaria, capped the frame at 25-22 with her team-leading eighth set-point conversion this season. Vegas clawed back twice in the first frame at 13-13 and got within a point at 20-19. However, Dimitrova couldn't be stopped, and the Rise improved to 9-2 in first sets this year with a +47-point differential (279-232).

Vegas thought they had blocked Dimitrova for the first time halfway through the second set, but a successful Rise coaches' challenge revealed a net touch by the Thrill, overturning the block. That gave Grand Rapids a 15-11 lead going into the media timeout. Vegas responded with a 4-0 mini run out of the break to draw level at 15-15. Former Rise practice squad player Kenna Sauer tied the set for the Thrill with a kill that landed on the back endline.

Rise middle blocker Marin Grote powered down her fifth kill of the match to put Grand Rapids up 19-16 in the second set and forced a Thrill timeout.

Down 21-17, Vegas rallied with three straight points to make things interesting again. Vegas middle blocker Layne Van Buskirk added the final touches with a kill to even the score at 22-22 and then blocked red-hot Dimitrova on set point to help the Thrill claim the second set, 26-24.

Vegas had four more blocks (10-6) than Grand Rapids through the first two sets. The Rise turned things around to have one more block by the end of the match (15-14).

Assisted by four Thrill attack errors, the Rise jumped out to a 6-1 advantage to start the third set. A block from Alyssa Jensen maintained the Grand Rapids' five-point lead at 15-10. Back-to-back kills from Claire Chaussee, a Vegas attack error, and another block by Jensen scored the final four points for the Rise to secure a 25-17 set victory.

Tied at 15-15, Vegas took control of the fourth set with four consecutive points. Khat Bell stepped up with two kills, as did Sauer with a kill and her second ace of the match. The Chaussee kill, Jensen block combo surfaced again late in the frame to get the Rise within one, 22-21. The Rise then fought off two set points to get level at 24-24.

The third set point for Vegas was denied by a Dimitrova kill. The fourth set point at 26-25 was also sent back with a setter kill from Evans. A block from Evans followed to put the Rise in control. The Thrill fended off two match points with a pair of wild rallies. But Grand Rapids eventually ended the match following a Vegas attack error and Chaussee's 16th kill.

Chaussee also picked up 11 digs for her ninth double-double this season. Rise libero Sarah Sponcil came two digs shy of tying her season high of 26 digs.


*Grand Rapids tied its season high with 15 blocks in the match. Jensen had four, followed by Evans (3), Grote (3), Dimitrova (2), Symone Abbott (2), and Chaussee (1). *The Rise hit .275 as a team with 63 kills and 21 attack errors on 153 attempts. Vegas hit .182 with 61 kills and 30 attack errors on 170 attempts. Grand Rapids has had more kills than its opponents in 10 out of 11 matches so far this season. *The Rise had a season-low four serving errors. It's the first time this year they have limited the damage from behind the service line to under double figures. *Grote had the second-most efficient attacking match for the Rise this season with nine kills and no errors on 16 swings (.562). Only Nia Grant has had a better showing with 10 or more attack attempts when she went 7-for-11 (.636) at Orlando on March 1. *Bell padded her stat line for the Thrill with 20 kills, 16 digs, four blocks, and an ace. Sauer added 11 kills, five digs, and two aces against her former team.

Box Score

GR 25 24 25 30 - 3

VG 22 26 17 28 - 1

Team Leaders

GR: Kills - Emiliya Dimitrova 21, Claire Chaussee 16, Marin Grote 9; Assists - Ashley Evans 51, Chaussee 3, Dimitrova 2; Aces - Grote 1, Chaussee 1, Symone Abbott 1; Blocks - Alyssa Jensen 4, Grote 3, Evans 3, Abbott 2, Dimitrova 2; Digs - Sarah Sponcil 24, Evans 13, Chaussee 11.

VG: Kills - Khat Bell 20, Kenna Sauer 11, Layne Van Buskirk 8, Berkeley Oblad 8; Assists - Alisha Glass Childress 48, Kylie Murr 5; Aces - Sauer 2, Bell 1, Hannah Maddux 1, Saskia Hippe 1; Blocks - Bell 4, Van Buskirk 4, Oblad 3; Digs - Murr 22, Bell 16, Glass Childress 10.

Record / Next Match

Grand Rapids: 6-5 / Thu., March 28 at Omaha Supernovas, 8 p.m. EDT

Vegas: 5-9 / Sat., March 30 at Omaha Supernovas, 4 p.m. PDT

Images from this story

Vegas Thrill's Ainise Havili and Grand Rapids Rise's Emiliya Dimitrova in action
Vegas Thrill's Ainise Havili and Grand Rapids Rise's Emiliya Dimitrova in action

(Nicolas Carrillo/Rise)

• Discuss this story on the Pro Volleyball Federation message board...

Pro Volleyball Federation Stories from March 27, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central