BARNESVILLE - A week ago, both River and St. John Central were basking in the glory of their respective OVAC championships.
The Lady Pilots claimed their first Class 2A title and the Lady Irish were the champions of Class 1A.
For the second straight weekend, both were playing for a title. However, it was against one another and only the Lady Pilots headed home happy.
RIVER’S Jensen Caretti goes up for a block during Saturday’s Division IV sectional final at Barnesville High School against St. John Central. The Lady Pilots prevailed in four games.
River needed four games to punch its ticket into the Division IV District Tournament at Buckeye Trail on Tuesday night, prevailing by scores of 25-16, 25-12, 24-26 and 25-14 Saturday afternoon at Barnesville High School.
"It's all about the team for us," said an elated River head coach Jim Turner.
Along with the team concept, the Lady Pilots also feature one of the area's premier players in sophomore dandy Jensen Caretti, who made her presence felt on multiple occassions throughout the match.
"We obviously have a really good player in Jensen, but she said in practice the other day if it wasn't for all of the really good players around her, she couldn't do it. She's an exceptional player, but all of our girls work well together."
The Lady Pilots took it to the Lady Irish early and appeared to be on their way to a rout. The fast start was exactly what Turner had envisioned, but the noon start caused him a little bit of concern.
"We always worry about the early starts because of the kids being out at football on a Friday night," Turner said. "The girls came out focused, but at the same time, I thought they played really relaxed. I am proud of the girls."
St. John Central, which finishes its season with a strong 19-5 record, just was never unable to get into a rhthym.
"We just didn't have it today," said Lady Irish head coach Carrie Ramsey. "I feel for my seniors. We had a really great season overall and I am really proud of my girls."
Caretti was involved in nearly every point in some capacity or another for the Lady Pilots. She had 22 kills, 16 points, 16 digs and four blocks.
On top of her production, the Lady Pilots also received eight key blocks from Mikayla Cieszeski. Monica Curtis turned in a solid outing with 12 points, 15 digs and 31 assists.
Mackenzie Marshall was an effective server, amassing 28 points, eight aces and she had 28 digs. Mackenzie Wade added 17 points and 11 digs and Amanda Bennett had 16 points and three kills.
Tiffany Connors and Abby Caldwell evenly split 12 digs, while Brissa Marshall had seven points and seven digs.
St. John Central, meanwhile, was led on the stat sheet by talented sophomore Jessica Alvey, who had five points, nine digs and nine kills. Sydney Helms added 11 assists. Amber LaMotte had 10 points, four aces and five digs. Lindsee Perry had 12 kills and nine digs. Caitlin Sliva added seven points, two kills and two digs. Emily LeMasters had four kills and three points, while Gabrielle Santinocetto had four points, three digs and an ace.
Next up for the Lady Pilots is a date with Tuscarawas Central Catholic at 6 p.m. Tuesday evening.