Just two weeks remain in the regular season and a number of league titles are still up for grabs. District tournament seedings should become a lot clearer by the end of this week, as several top teams will face off.
Kit Carson (16-0) enters another week as the top-ranked team in the class and the Wildcats can wrap up the High Plains League title with two more wins. The Wildcats picked up four more sweeps last week, including three in the Stratton tournament. They will host #8 McClave (11-3) on Thursday and #10 Eads (8-4) on Friday. Kit Carson owns a one-game lead over McClave and Cheyenne Wells in the league, and Eads is a game and a half back.
The Wildcats got last week started with a 3-0 sweep over 2A Limon (7-8), in which Tess Hornung registered nine kills. Micayla Isenbart (eight kills), McKenzie Smith (seven) and Reyna Isenbart (six) provided balance in the win. That was followed up by a trio of 2-0 sweeps in the event at Stratton last Saturday. Kit Carson allowed a total of 61 points in those three matches. Those wins came over Lone Star (0-4), 2A Burlington (8-6), and 2A Merino (8-7).
After sweeping Granada (2-8) earlier in the week, McClave hosted an eight-team tournament on Saturday. The Cardinals opened the tourney with a 2-0 sweep of South Baca (3-9), setting up a semifinal showdown with #3 La Veta (15-0). The Redskins took the match with identical 25-16 set victories. McClave bounced back to take third place with a 2-0 win over Kim/Branson (7-8).
McClave hosts Eads on Tuesday night and will visit #5 Wiley (12-2) on Friday, giving the Cards three matches against ranked opponents this week. Eads picked up wins over Walsh (5-9) and Sangre de Cristo (12-4) last week, but they also dropped a three-setter to 2A #5 Swink (12-3). The matches against Sangre and Swink were part of the tournament hosted by Swink.
Eads has lost the last four meetings with McClave, including two last year. Prior to that stretch, the Eagles had won eight straight against the Cards. The recent history against Kit Carson has not been favorable for the Eagles, as the Wildcats have won seven in a row, the last five in sweeps. Two of those came last season.
La Veta added four wins to its record last week, with three coming in the McClave tournament. The Redskins, who have all but locked up the Southern Peaks title, swept Sierra Grande (4-8) on Friday and then won the championship at McClave with sweeps over Granada and the hosts, and a 2-1 win over #7 Holly (13-3). They will host Centennial (4-5) on Thursday and Mountain Valley (0-15) on Friday. The Redskins will close out the regular season next Saturday against Sangre de Cristo, with the top seed in District 6 likely on the line.
Wiley looks to keep its five-game winning streak alive when the Panthers host their rivals from McClave on Friday. Faith Dellamaestra enters the match needing one kill to reach 100 for the season. The junior was limited to six kills in the win over Eads last week, but Shayla Brown stepped up to lead the team with 16. Mariah Smith had 16 kills for the Eagles in the loss. The Panthers will need to reverse history to earn a win over McClave, as they’ve dropped the last six meetings with the Cardinals. Wiley also hosts 2A Las Animas (5-10) on Saturday.
Holly, who trails Wiley by one game in the Arkansas Valley, had a five-match winning streak snapped by La Veta in the finals of the McClave tournament. The Wildcats reached the finals with a 2-0 victory over Manzanola (4-12) and a 2-1 win over Kim/Branson. After winning the opening set against the Mustangs 25-22, Holly dropped the second 25-10. The Wildcats won the third 15-11 to set up the contest with La Veta. The Redskins took the first set by a 25-21 score, but Holly responded with a 25-23 win to force the third. La Veta took that one 15-10 to claim the tourney title.
The Wildcats have a quieter week on tap, with their only action coming against their rivals from Granada. Holly heads into that match on Friday having won nine straight against the Bobcats. Overall, the Wildcats have won 18 of the last 19 against Granada.
Second-ranked Fleming (14-1) all but locked up the North Central League and the top spot in District 4 with a 3-0 win over #6 Briggsdale last Friday. The Wildcats, who also downed 2A Haxtun (12-3) last week, have a two-game lead in the league standings with only two matches remaining against NCL foes. They have not dropped a set in a month and are 38-3 in sets played. This week’s schedule has the Wildcats hosting 2A Akron (2-13) on Thursday and Peetz (1-14) on Friday.
Briggsdale had its seven-match winning streak snapped with that loss to Fleming last week. The Falcons defeated Weldon Valley (6-7) the night before to give them a season sweep of the Warriors. This week’s matches will be important for district seeding, as the Falcons host Prairie (8-7) on Thursday and Longmont Christian (3-7) on Friday. Briggsdale sits second in the district standings with Prairie third and Longmont Christian fifth.
Fourth-ranked Otis (13-3) earned two sweeps in YWKC League play last week and they will host a resurgent Prairie squad on Tuesday. The Mustangs enter that contest having won five straight. The Bulldogs are alone atop the league standings with a 5-0 mark after those wins over Idalia (4-19) and Bethune (2-13). Otis will also have a key District 5 contest on Friday when the Bulldogs visit Stratton/Liberty (8-6).
One of the teams hot on Otis’ heels in both the YWKC and District 5 is #9 Flagler/Hi-Plains (8-6). Last week it was reported that they are not in the YWKC, but that was incorrect. The co-op program competes in that league for volleyball and boys basketball, but is in the Union Pacific for girls basketball and track.
That program, which will soon have a new name and mascot, went 1-2 in the Stratton tournament last weekend. Flagler/Hi-Plains, who swept Arickaree/Woodlin on Friday, beat the hosts in two sets to open the event. They then fell to 2A programs Merino and Burlington in sweeps. This will be a light week, with only a home contest against Deer Trail (3-8) on tap.
In a key match outside of the top-ten, Front Range Baptist (8-0) hosts Belleview Christian (14-1) on Tuesday. The winner will have sole possession of the lead in the 5280. Belleview Christian would guarantee itself a share of the league title, as the Bruins already hold a win over third place Rocky Mountain Lutheran (12-5), who is just one game back in the league. Front Range Baptist still must face the Eagles next Tuesday.>