VENICE — Riverdale stayed within striking distance for most of its match against Venice in a Class 7A-Region 3 quarterfinal Tuesday night. But ultimately, the Indians had too much firepower and the Raiders fell in three games, 25-18, 25-16, and 25-18, to the defending Class 6A state champions.
The games were similar as Riverdale grabbed early leads and stayed close in the beginning stages, only to see Venice pull away at the end.
“We were struggling a little bit offensively tonight,” Raiders coach Roni Hipp said. “We had a couple of hitters that didn’t get their normal amount of kills, but other than that I really thought that our team played really hard and some people had, I thought, outstanding nights.”
Riverdale led 8-6 in the first game before Venice took over. The game was tied for the last time at 9-9 before the Indians went on a 7-1 run and gradually increased their lead.
In the second game, the Raiders were tied or within a point in the early going, and were still within three at 16-13 before Venice scored eight points in a row.
The third game was tied at 5-5 before Venice reeled off five points in a row. The Raiders closed the margin to three in several occasions, but Venice outside hitters Tanner Gauthier and Hannah Richards had an answer every time.
“Venice is obviously a very good team,” Hipp said. “They had great hitters. It was hard for us to get into a rhythm. They put a lot of balls away and kind of kept the pressure on us all night, and we were having a difficult time offensively trying to get some of our hitters with more kills.”
Junior Kacy Ogden led the way for Riverdale with nine kills, eight digs, and two aces. Senior libero Cortney Wilson had 11 digs and senior setter Morgan Baldwin had 17 assists for the Raiders, who finished their season with a 19-8 record. Venice improved to 19-9 and will face Gulf Coast in Saturday’s semifinals.