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PLANT CITY — Riverview had to wait more than a decade, but the drought is finally over — the Sharks are back in the postseason.
Sarah Burrington dominated all over the court as Riverview returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 by defeating No. 1 seed Durant 25-16, 25-18, 19-25, 25-11 Thursday in the Class 5A-8 district final.
“Everyone knows how good Sarah is,” first-year Riverview coach Kristin Grosso said. “She’s our biggest hitter, but more importantly she is the leader out there and the girls all follow her.”
The Cougars swept the Sharks (17-6) in their only meeting this season and Riverview, seeded second , had to come into Durant’s notoriously noisy gym.
“You can always feel it when you come into Durant’s place,” Grosso said. “They are our rivals.”
Burrington, a 6-foot-5 junior who has orally committed to Florida State, spent the night hitting over, around and through the Cougars’ defense. She finished with match highs in kills (21) and blocks (seven).
“That was a lot of blocks for her,” Grosso said. “But she wanted it tonight. The whole team wanted this.”
After dropping the third game and leading 12-9 in the fourth, Riverview went on a 13-2 run to end any hopes of a Durant (14-6) comeback. Jennifer Cook blasted home a cross-court winner to end it, touching off a wild Riverview celebration.
Both teams advance to next Wednesday’s region quarterfinals. Riverview will host Springstead while Durant travels to Ocala Forest.