The Riverdale High volleyball team fell victim to a familiar foe in the District 7A-12 championship game on Thursday night.
Gulf Coast topped the Raiders 3-1 (25-18, 25-13, 24-26, 25-20) at home to earn its second straight district title.
Three of Riverdale’s seven losses this season have come to Gulf Coast. The Raiders will now begin the region playoffs on the road against the District 7A-11 champion on the road on Tuesday.
“It’s tough because Gulf Coast is very consistent,” Riverdale coach Roni Hipp said. “They usually get three or four points ahead and it is tough to get that back. They are a very good team.”
Riverdale never led in either of the first two games and trailed 2-0 entering game three.
The Raiders (19-7) trailed 16-13 midway through the third game but stormed all the way back to tie the score at 24 apiece.
Riverdale then won two straight points to claim their first game against Gulf Coast in any of three matches this season thanks to a game-clinching ace by junior Kacy Ogden.
The Sharks (22-5) tightened things up in game four and opened up leads of 12-6 and 19-12 respectively. The Raiders won four straight points late in the game to get within three at 23-20 but the Sharks hung on for the 25-20 win in the match-clinching game.
“We were up and down the whole match,” Hipp said. “It’s very tough to play that way against a good team. They are very consistent and they don’t make a ton of errors. It’s tough to give away that many points and try to come back on a good team like that.
The region playoff berth is Riverdale’s first since 2012. The Raiders have not won a region playoff game since 2011.