BIDWELL, Ohio — Welcome back.
After a one-year hiatus, the River Valley volleyball team returned to the top of the final season standings Thursday night following a 25-16, 25-16, 25-16 victory over visiting South Point in the Ohio Valley Conference finale for both teams.
The Lady Raiders (8-9, 8-2 OVC) honored seniors Rylie Hollingsworth, Noel Mershon, Alicia Ferrell, Cady Gilmore, Randi Wray, Josie Vanco, Justyce Stout and Tracy Roberts before the contest for their years with the program, then the hosts rode that momentum to a trio of nine-point decisions.
The victory allowed the Silver and Black to secure a share of their 10th OVC volleyball crown in 11 seasons, dating back to their entrance into the league back in the fall of 2002. RVHS shared the 2012 crown with Coal Grove, who managed a repeat championship in league volleyball play for the first time since 1986.
River Valley coach Heather Priddy coached the Lady Raiders during the 2010 season, which was the last of nine straight OVC crowns. Priddy took last year off after giving birth to a child, but came back this fall to restore the Silver and Black back where they belong.
After a 2-2 start in league, the Lady Raiders won their final six league matches for a return to the top. Priddy was proud that the girls never quit and that all of the hard work paid off in the end.
“We knew all week that we had to win these last two matches with Coal Grove and South Point to get a share of the league title. This is a really exciting time for us right now knowing that we have accomplished that,” Priddy said. “These girls have fought hard and battled back while playing really well, and now we know that we have achieved one of our goals this season. I’m proud of them for what we’ve been able to do.”
RVHS trailed only once in the first game at 13-12, but rallied with a 13-3 run to close things out for an early 1-0 match lead. The Lady Pointers again claimed an 8-7 edge in Game 2, but the countered with an 18-8 surge for a 2-0 advantage. SPHS led 2-0 to start the finale, but RVHS reeled off four of the next five points and led the rest of the way.
Hollingsworth and Gilmore both paced the River Valley service attack with 13 points apiece, followed by Mershon with 12 points. Leia Moore added seven points to the winning cause, while Stout chipped in two service points.
Roberts led the RVHS net attack with 13 kills and five blocks, followed by Ferrell with five kills and Moore with four kills. Stout contributed three kills and Bryant also had one kill. Moore, Mershon and Stout also added a block each in the win.
Hannah Carrey led SPHS with six service points, followed by Andrea Bradburn and Bonnie Hileman with five points apiece.