STEUBENVILLE - River captured its first OVAC Volleyball Tournament championship Saturday night by topping Bridgeport 25-9, 25-23 in the Class 2A title tilt inside The Crimson Center.
It was the Pilots' first trip to the tournament since 1988 and capped a tremendous turnaround for a program that finished 1-19 four years ago.
''They did a great job when things weren't going well,'' River coach Jim Turner said. ''Great, great job by our kids. We have a great bunch of kids ... hard workers.''
Jensen Caretti had 18 kills and 12 digs for the Pilots (13-8) and closed things out with a pair of spikes.
''Jensen is a tremendous talent and she has a bunch of great players around her,'' Turner said. ''This is definitely a team win.''
Mackenzie Wade paced River with 16 points and added 12 digs. Amanda Bennett added 11 points and Monica Curtis had 23 assists and 10 digs. Curtis, MacKenzie Marshall and Brissa Marshall all scored six points.
''The key for us was playing as a team,'' Turner said.
River had little trouble with the Bulldogs (15-8) in the first set, but the second was a different story.
With the two squads tied at 3-3, Caretti started the Pilots on a 3-0 run and, from there, River maintained a slight advantage.
That was until the midway point of the set where Bridgeport rallied to tie the score at 16-16. From there, things see-sawed back and forth and the Bulldogs taking their first lead of the match at 19-18.
River tied the match and eventually jumped ahead 23-21 on a Caretti point.
Bridgeport was able to tie things at 23-23 before River pulled away.
Briana Massey scored five points for the Bulldogs, while Alyssa Cook had 16 assists and Maclaine Murad had 10 digs.
''We just made some critical mistakes at some wrong times,'' Bridgeport coach Ron Kelly said. ''That big girl over there (Caretti) played really well.''
Frontier d. Clay-Battelle
22-25, 25-20, 25-17
Corisa Fickiesen had 11 points and 13 kills as Frontier topped Clay-Battelle.
Emily Hinton added 27 assists for the Cougars.