The final week of regular season play is here and there are several key matches on the slate. Three of the six leagues comprised solely of 1A programs have been decided, but even those have plenty still to determine.
Belleview Christian (16-1) can wrap up first place in the 5280 with a victory over Beth Eden (4-8) on Tuesday. The Bruins own one game leads over both Rocky Mountain Lutheran (13-5) and Front Range Baptist (8-2) who play for second place on Tuesday. Rocky Mountain Lutheran will be at home for that meeting, and the Eagles have won five straight in their friendly confines.
The first place Bruins have only dropped 11 sets this season, three in a loss to 2A Gilpin County (10-7). They own a five set win over Rocky Mountain Lutheran and a four set victory over Front Range Baptist. Belleview Christian has put up seven straight wins since suffering the loss to Gilpin County.
Seventh-ranked Wiley (13-3) leads the league by one game over both Springfield (8-9) and #4 Holly (14-3). The Panthers split with Holly this season, but their win came in the meeting that counted in the league standings. Springfield’s lone loss in the Ark Valley came against Holly, so a win by the Longhorns when they host Wiley on Friday would create a three-way tie for the league title.
Before Wiley gets to that potential league clinching match, the Panthers host South Baca (4-10) on Tuesday. The Panthers had a five-match winning streak snapped last week when they fell 3-0 to #6 McClave. South Baca has lost its last two and five of six.
Holly can lock up second place with a win on Tuesday over Kim/Branson (9-8). The Wildcats beat the Mustangs 2-1 in the semifinals of the McClave tournament just over a week ago. Kim/Branson sits fourth in the league and has won its last two matches, but is just 4-8 since starting the season 5-0.
Pikes Peak Christian (12-3) faces Elbert (9-8) on Thursday and the winner claims the Black Forest title. Elbert is at home where it has gone 2-5 this season. They split last season’s series with the Eagles, with the Bulldogs earning a win in districts. That makes them 12-3 in the last 15 meetings with Pikes Peak Christian.
The Eagles also have a league clash with Colorado D & B (0-11) on Monday. Pikes Peak Christian takes a five-match winning streak into that contest.Â They have gone 4-0 at home and 7-1 on the road this season. One of those road victories was two weeks ago, a 3-0 sweep of D & B.
Edison (6-11) hosts Kiowa (9-8) on Thursday with third place in the league at stake. The Eagles are just 3-3 over the last three weeks, alternating wins and losses during the stretch. They won their last outing against Hanover (5-13) and will visit Miami-Yoder (0-13) on Tuesday.
The title in the High Plains League once again belongs to #1 Kit Carson (18-0), making it three consecutive league crowns for the Wildcats. They will try to complete a perfect regular season on Friday when they host Walsh (5-11). The Wildcats have a 48-0 mark in sets played this year.
Spots second through fourth won’t be decided until Friday when Cheyenne Wells entertains Eads.Â The Tigers are currently alone in second and stay there with a win over Eads.Â But if the Eagles win, then they move into a second place tie with Cheyenne Wells and McClave.Â McClave has finished their league schedule at 3-2.Â Eads stayed in position for creating the tie by downing Granada in four sets Tuesday night.Â Teams want to finish second or third to be placed opposite Kit Carson in the district tournament and avoid meeting the top ranked Wildcats until the tournament finals.
McClave has two matches this week that will impact the RPI. The Cards, who began the week ranked fourth in the RPI, will visit Holly (6th RPI) on Tuesday and Springfield (11th RPI). McClave beat Holly 2-0 early in the season and the Cardinals own a 3-1 victory over the Longhorns this season.
Second-ranked Fleming (16-1) has claimed the North Central crown and is just one away from making it a clean sweep through the league. That remaining contest is against a red-hot #10 Prairie (10-7) on Friday. The Mustangs have won seven straight matches entering the week, while Fleming has put 10 straight wins in the column.
Two of those wins for Prairie came against ranked teams last week. The Mustangs downed Otis in three sets with the Bulldogs ranked fourth at the time, and then claimed a four set win at Briggsdale to end the week. The Falcons were sixth at that point. Before the two ranked squads meet on Friday, Prairie hosts Weldon Valley (8-7) and Fleming visits 2A Merino (11-7).
Briggsdale (13-4) is currently tied for second in the division with Prairie, but they would claim sole possession of that position if the Mustangs lose either of their two remaining matches. The Falcons finish league play on Friday against Pawnee (3-15).
SAN JUAN BASIN
One of the mixed classification leagues, the San Juan Basin has been claimed by one of the 2A squads, #9 Dolores. The top 1A team in the league, Dove Creek (10-6) is currently second in the standings, but only 24th in the RPI.Â Nucla (5-11), Ouray (1-14) and Norwood (3-14) are the other 1A teams that will join teams from the Western Slope for district play.
Likely to be the last league to crown a champion, the Southern Peaks will go down to the wire. Third-ranked La Veta (17-0) hosts Sangre de Cristo (13-4) on Saturday, with the winner taking the title. Both will face Primero (5-10) before their final showdown. The Thunderbirds will visit the Bulldogs on Thursday, while La Veta makes the trip to Weston on Friday.
Creede (11-5) just needs a victory over Mountain Valley (0-17) on Friday to secure third place in the league. The Miners are one game ahead of fourth place Antonito (10-10) who has already wrapped up league play. Creede already owns a 3-0 victory over Mountain Valley two weeks ago.
The top 1A team in the mixed Union Pacific is Stratton/Liberty (9-7), who trails 2A Limon by one game in the league. The Knighted Eagles can claim outright possession of second place with a win over 2A Burlington on Thursday.
Genoa-Hugo (9-8) sits fifth in the league, but third among 1A programs. The Pirates are one game ahead of last place Deer Trail (3-10) and those two close out the season against each other on Friday.
The top six teams in the Western Slope are all part of 2A. Leading the 1A pack is De Beque (9-9), with the Dragons one game ahead of North Park (5-10). The Dragons only have one game left and it is against 2A Caprock Academy, who is 11th out of 13 teams in the league. North Park has games with fifth place West Grand (2A) and 12th place Hayden (2A) giving the Wildcats an opportunity to move ahead of De Beque with two wins.
Seventh-ranked Otis (14-4) needs a win over Arickaree/Woodlin (13-4) on Friday to claim the YW-KC title. The race gets a bit muddled if the Indian-Mustangs knock off the Bulldogs. Assuming #9 Flagler/Hi-Plains (10-6) takes care of Lone Star (0-6) on Monday, an Arickaree/Woodlin win on Friday would create a three-way tie for first in the league.
If Otis wins the match on Friday, Flagler/Hi-Plains would be second with a victory on Monday. That slides Arickaree/Woodlin to third. The Indian-Mustangs are only 21st in the RPI, so they might need to claim a regional title to earn a trip to state next month.
NOTE:Â District tournament open next week and the top three teams in each event advance to regional events the following week.Â We ask coaches and/or athletic directors to please send us district brackets & schedules so we can post online.Â Once teams are seeded and placed into the pairings, we hope you can send us the info through email to email@example.com.