The last of the 1A volleyball unbeatens fell earlier this week and things are starting to heat up across the state. Several leagues have already seen their titles decided, while a few others could be settled by the end of the week.
Second-ranked Otis had ascended to the #1 spot in the RPI following last Friday’s 3-0 win over #5 Briggsdale, but the Bulldogs were upset on Tuesday by Haxtun, 3-1. That was the first loss of the season for Otis, who received 21 kills from MaKenna Metzler and 14 more from Ruby Halcomb. Those two combined for just eight kills in the earlier victory over Briggsdale, as Otis took advantage of numerous errors by the Falcons in all aspects of the game.
The Bulldogs, who could see Haxtun again in the district tournament, will turn their focus over the next 10 days towards the YWKC league title, as they close out the regular season with a road trip to Idalia on Friday, a home clash with Bethune next Monday, and a visit to Arickaree/Woodlin next Friday. None of those teams has a winning record on the season.
The longest current winning streak in the class belongs to #3 La Veta at 11 straight. The Redskins have not dropped a set since falling to top-ranked Kit Carson in five back on Aug. 31st. The most recent wins in that streak happened last Saturday as they swept their way to a championship in the McClave tournament. The victories came against the hosts, as well as Kim/Branson and Holly. The winning streak could reach 13 by the end of the week, as La Veta hosts Manzanola on Friday and Sierra Grande on Saturday. The Bobcats will carry a four-match losing streak into the Friday contest and Sierra Grande has dropped four of six heading into a Thursday meeting with Aguilar.
Fourth-ranked Weldon Valley is right on the heels of La Veta when it comes to consecutive wins. The Warriors carry a streak of 10 straight victories into Thursday’s match-up against Briggsdale and another win over the Falcons will secure the North Central title for them. They are catching the Falcons on a two-game skid, as they followed the loss to Otis last week with a four-set defeat at the hands of 2A #3 Wiggins on Tuesday.
Weldon Valley won the first meeting with Briggsdale on the road in four sets, with Linda Amaglio pounding out a team-high 10 kills. Six different players had at least four kills for the Warriors in that contest. Kimberlyn Krise had 14 to pace Briggsdale. Krise has had at least 10 kills in every match this season and is third in the class with 243.
Briggsdale can create a tie for the league title with a victory on Thursday to split the season series, and a win at home on Friday against Fleming. That would give the Falcons a season sweep over the Wildcats, as they beat Fleming in five sets the first time around, to snap a 28-match losing streak against them.
After dropping a five-setter to 2A #1 Yuma, Kit Carson responded with four sweep victories last week. Three came in a tournament at Stratton/Liberty, with one coming against the tenth-ranked hosts. The Wildcats did not allow more than 15 points in any of the nine sets played last week. Kit Carson held Genoa-Hugo’s Ryely Smartt, #2 in the classification in kills, to just five in a victory over the Pirates during the tournament. Kit Carson will host Flagler/Hi-Plains on Thursday and Granada on Friday.
Sixth-ranked Merino also bounced back from a loss to Yuma, picking up wins over Caliche and Wray in their last two outings. The Rams will be favored in their next two contests, as well. They will host Sedgwick County on Friday and Peetz next Tuesday. Merino, with just one senior on the roster, already owns a 3-0 win over Sedgwick County this season and the Rams have won seven straight against the Cougars. Peetz ended a 23-match losing streak with a win over Caliche last week. It was just the second victory over the last two seasons for the Bulldogs.
Walsh saw its unbeaten start to the season ended with a pair of losses in the McClave tournament last Saturday. The #7 Eagles fell to the hosts and Holly, but they responded with a big four-set victory over #9 Springfield on Tuesday. That victory all but secured the Ark Valley title for Walsh, who now has wins over the top two challengers in the league. A win over Kim/Branson on Friday would wrap up the crown. Walsh also has Thursday and Saturday matches with Kansas schools on the slate, making for a busy weekend.
De Beque also had its perfect run spoiled last week, with the Dragons losing to a pair of ranked opponents from bigger classes. The Dragons pushed 3A #8 Cedaredge last Thursday, eventually falling in four sets, and then they were swept by 2A #10 Vail Mountain the following night. Faith Novess, one of the top hitters in the class, led the team with 10 kills in each match. This week has three more match-ups against 2A opponents, with home contests on Wednesday against Plateau Valley and Friday against Vail Christian. The week wraps up with a trip to Rangely on Saturday.
Springfield heads into the latter part of the week having lost three of its last four, two of which came in the Swink Classic on Saturday. Those losses in the tournament came against the hosts, ranked #5 in 2A, and 3A La Junta. The loss to Walsh earlier this week puts the Longhorns in third place in the Ark Valley, as they also were handed a 3-2 loss early this season by second place Wiley. The only game left this week is a Friday contest against Cheyenne Wells, winner of three straight.
The loss to Kit Carson in last weekend’s tournament was Stratton/Liberty’s third in its last seven matches. The Knighted Eagles return to action on Thursday for a big Union Pacific clash with 2A Byers. Stratton/Liberty is one game behind 2A Limon for the UP lead, with key contests next week against Burlington and Flagler/Hi-Plains. The Knighted Eagles beat both of those teams last weekend in 2-0 sweeps. Friday, Stratton/Liberty will visit Arickaree/Woodlin.
Behind Ava Ahalt, the classifications leader with 318 kills, Denver Waldorf wrapped up the 5280 title with a five-set victory over Front Range Baptist on Tuesday. Ahalt pounded down 29 kills in the win. Last season, in another five-set win over the Falcons, the senior recorded a career-high 40 kills. The Spartans have won eight straight contests and are off until Monday, when they face Two Roads Charter.
Dove Creek also rides an eight-match winning streak into Friday’s contest at Ouray. The Bulldogs were pushed to five sets by Nucla on Tuesday, ending a string of five consecutive sweeps. Dove Creek holds a one game edge over Dolores in the San Juan race.
Pikes Peak Christian and Evangelical Christian are both one game back of Elbert in the Black Forest, with each having lost to the Bulldogs. The two sets of Eagles meet next Thursday, with the winner finishing second to Elbert.