Rise end regular season with statement win over second-seeded Omaha

Rise end regular season with statement win over second-seeded Omaha
Rise end regular season with statement win over second-seeded Omaha

GRAND RAPIDS — In the final game of their inaugural regular season, the Grand Rapids Rise managed to beat the one team they had not defeated yet this season.

On Mother’s Day, the Rise hosted the second-place Omaha Supernovas in a measuring-stick match. Grand Rapids proved once again they can hang with the best teams in the league, heading into the postseason on a high note with a five-set victory (25-16, 23-25, 23-25, 26-24, 15-10 ).

It isn’t just big for the Rise to win because they have momentum heading into the playoffs, but also because they lost the first three meetings of the season against the Supernovas, who won four straight heading into Sunday.

The Rise and Supernovas traded for most of the first set, with the teams tied 10-10. That was when Grand Rapids went on an 8-1 run, taking firm control of the frame. While Omaha scored a couple of points late, the Rise convincingly took Set 1, 25-16.

The second frame was even tighter. Although the Rise scored two separate 3-0 runs, the Supernovas quickly responded each time, and the two sides were level at 18. The set was tied 21-21, and though GR came close to sending the frame into extras, the ‘Novas took the set, 25-23.

After the squads changed sides, the Rise and Supernovas had swings on momentum in the third set, with Omaha managing to build three, three-point leads. Omaha ended up having three set points, but Grand Rapids could not pull off the comeback, losing the frame by another 25-23 score.

The Supernovas got off to a great start in the fourth set, scoring seven of the first 10 points. However, the Rise came back with a couple of stretches of scoring four straight points, giving them a 12-9 lead. Grand Rapids held a 23-20 lead in the frame, but Omaha came back to tie the set. The Rise would have two chances to close out the set, finally signaling the win in the frame, 26-24.

In the fifth and deciding set, the Rise had got off to a great start, jumping out to a 5-2 lead. They continued to keep the pressure on the Supernovas. While Omaha cut the lead to 8-7, Grand Rapids went on a 7-3 run to clinch the set, 15-10, and win the match, 3-2.

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The spirited fans were treated to the final home match of opposite hitter Emiliya Dimitrova. The team honored the 14-year veteran with a pre-match ceremony. She has been one of the best offensive weapons on the Rise’s roster this season, and has made an impact on and off the court.

Dimitrova finished up with nine kills. Claire Chaussee led the Rise with 20 kills. Ashley Evans posted 39 assists in the win.

Paige Briggs led the Supernovas with 17 kills, registering a double-double with 13 digs. Sydney Hilley had 43 assists with 10 digs.

The Rise (12-12) ended the regular season with back-to-back wins, winning four of their final seven matches.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Rise will now head to Omaha for the inaugural PVF Championship weekend. They will be facing the Atlanta Vibe in the first semifinal on Wednesday, May 15.

The Vibe (19-5) were on a tear heading into the end of the regular season, winning 10 of their last 11 matches. They ended up finishing three games ahead of the Supernovas (16-8).

The Rise won the first two matches against the Vibe, before Atlanta returned the favor with two victories of theirs during their hot streak.

  • RELATED: Rise fall apart in third set against league-leading Atlanta, losing in four sets

First serve is set for 7 pm ET, and will be televised on CBS Sports Network.

The winner of the Vibe and Rise semifinals will take on the winner of the other semifinal–Omaha taking on the San Diego Mojo–in the championship match next Saturday.

Check out more Grand Rapids Rise stories on MLive

More Grand Rapids Rise coverage

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