BIDWELL, Ohio — The little things made a big difference.
Visiting Athens made a small runs in all three games that ultimately allowed it to post a 3-0 match win Tuesday night with a 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 decision over the River Valley volleyball team in a Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division contest in Gallia County.
The Lady Raiders (3-6, 1-3 TVC Ohio) held leads in each of the first two games and were keeping pace with the Lady Bulldogs (5-6, 2-2), but the hosts had a couple of small lulls in each of the contests that ultimately allowed AHS to pull away.
After trailed by no more than three points en route to a 14-12 deficit in Game 1, Athens reeled off eight of the next nine points to extend its lead out to 22-13. The Silver and Black answered with five straight points to close back to within four, but the guests scored three of the final five points to secure a 1-0 match lead.
Tied at 13-all in Game 2, the Green and Gold reeled off five of six points for an 18-14 edge — then scored six of the next eight points for a 24-18 edge. RVHS managed to score consecutive points to close back to within four, but the guests broke serve and took a 2-0 match advantage with their second straight five-point win.
Athens never trailed in Game 3 and broke away from a 15-all tie with a 5-3 run that made for a 20-18 contest. The Lady Bulldogs closed the game with five consecutive points to wrap up the 3-0 match outcome.
Mikenzi Pope led the RVHS service attack with 13 points, followed by Alex Wood with 10 points and Jaden Bradley with three points. Taylor Huck and Laura Kinney were next with two points apiece, while Breanna Dodrill completed things with one point.
Pope led the net attack with seven kills and Javan Gardner followed with six kills. Huck was next with four kills, while Bradley and Kasey Birchfield chipped in two kills apiece.
Birchfield had a team-high four blocks and Hannah Jacks added three blocks to go along with four assists. Wood led the hosts with seven assists and Kinney provided six assists as well.
Baelyn Carey paced Athens with 15 service points and Sarah Webb followed with 12 points.
River Valley travels to Nelsonville-York on Thursday for a TVC Ohio contest at 6 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.