Rise Top Vibe in Battle of Unbeatens

February 9, 2024 - Pro Volleyball Federation (PVF) - Grand Rapids Rise News Release

Grand Rapids Rise's Claire Chaussee on game night
Grand Rapids Rise's Claire Chaussee on game night
(Grand Rapids Rise, Credit: Noah Burton/Atlanta Vibe)

ATLANTA, Ga. - The first road trip in franchise history for the Grand Rapids Rise will be remembered as a successful conquest. The Rise defeated the previously unbeaten Atlanta Vibe Friday night inside the Gas South Arena by set scores of 25-20, 21-25, 25-22, 25-22.

The opening set started with a Claire Chaussee kill. Atlanta took its only lead of the set at 3-2 following a block by Leah Edmond. The Rise responded with a 4-0 run and kept that advantage throughout the rest of the frame. Marin Grote powered down her first kill of the match at 15-10, just before the media timeout. The teams scored 10 more points each to cap the first set, 25-20, in Grand Rapids' favor.

Rise outside hitters Chaussee and Symone Abbott both had five kills in the first frame. As a team, Grand Rapids had a respectable .263 attack percentage. Abbott paced the Rise with 16 kills in the match, followed by Emiliya Dimitrova (13) and Chaussee (12). Chaussee added 17 digs for her second straight double-double performance.

After a back-and-forth start to the second set, Atlanta went on a 4-0 run to force the Rise into a timeout trailing 11-8. Grand Rapids got within two points three times at 13-11, 14-12, and 23-21, but couldn't pull even. The Vibe scored the final two points to win the second set, 25-21, and deal the Rise their first set loss in franchise history.

Abbott's 10th kill of the match gave the Rise a 13-11 lead in the third set. Tied at 18-18, Dimitrova ended one of the better rallies in the match with a kill to the far back corner. Rise setter Ashley Evans followed that up by catching the Vibe off guard with her own kill after another lengthy rally. Evans then kept feeding a red-hot Dimitrova to close out the set, 25-22. Dimitrova recorded a team-high six kills in the set on 10 attack attempts, plus she had two blocks.

Evans eclipsed her standard from the first match by tossing up 45 assists against the Vibe. Rise libero Sarah Sponcil also collected a team-high 18 digs to set a single-match high.

A kill down the middle by Kayla Caffey and an ace from Evans tied the fourth set at 13-13. Two errors in succession from the Vibe had the Rise up two, 15-13, at the media timeout. Abbott knocked down her team-high 15th kill from the outside, with Grote used as a decoy in the middle, to give Grand Rapids a 21-17 lead and force the Vibe into a timeout.

Atlanta regrouped quickly and scored the next three points to make the Rise call a timeout up 21-20. Back-to-back serving errors by both teams made it 22-21. Vibe's Shelly Fanning and Dimitrova then traded kills. Two points away from a second win, Caffey came up clutch with a point-blank putback kill and a match-point block on Edmond, 25-22.


*Tonight marked the first time in nearly 17 years that two DP Fox Sports & Entertainment franchises won on the same night. On March 4, 2007, the Griffins won 3-1 at Rochester and the Arena Football League's Rampage triumphed 44-42 at Colorado. The two teams last played on the same date on April 5, 2008. *The Rise had three more kills (56-53) and blocks (10-7), and one more ace (4-3) than the Vibe, while Atlanta had 11 more digs (77-66) and two more assists (51-49). *Edmond finished with a double-double with a match-high 18 kills and 13 digs. *The Rise took 150 attack attempts in the match, resulting in 56 kills and 16 attack errors for a .267 attack percentage.

Box Score

GR 25 21 25 25 - 3

ATL 20 25 22 22 - 1

Team Leaders

GR: Kills - Symone Abbott 16, Emiliya Dimitrova 13, Claire Chaussee 12; Assists - Ashley Evans 45, Sarah Sponcil 2; Aces - Evans 2, Chaussee 1, Dimitrova 1; Blocks - Marin Grote 3, Caffey 3, Evans 2, Dimitrova 2; Digs - Sponcil 20, Chaussee 18, Evans 8, Abbott 7.

ATL: Kills - Leah Edmond 18, Leketor Member-Meneh 13, Grace Cleveland 9; Assists - Tori Stringer 46, Morgan Hentz 4; Aces - Member-Meneh 1, Shelly Fanning 1, Karis Watson 1; Blocks - Edmond 3, Watson 2, Fanning 1, Regan Pittman 1; Digs - Hentz 19, Edmond 13, Member-Meneh 12, Cleveland 11.

Record / Next Match

Grand Rapids: 2-0 / Mon., Feb. 12 vs. Omaha Supernovas, 7 p.m.

Atlanta: 3-1 / Mon., Feb. 12 vs. Orlando Valkyries, 7 p.m.

Images from this story

Grand Rapids Rise's Claire Chaussee on game night
Grand Rapids Rise's Claire Chaussee on game night

(Noah Burton/Atlanta Vibe)

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