2A REGIONAL VOLLEYBALL PREVIEW

Denver Christian has been atop the 2A volleyball rankings the entire season and now the unbeaten Thunder begin their post-season run. As expected, they're the top seed in the regional bracket.

Regional tournaments are set for this weekend in Class 2A volleyball as the winners from the 12 events head to the Denver Coliseum for state action next week.  Denver Christian is the top seed in the bracket and the unbeaten Thunder are considered the overall favorite for the crown.  Several up and coming teams also earned the right to host this week so some new faces may join them in the Coliseum next week.  Defending state champion Yuma is seeded 13th and begins defense of their title at the Rye regional.

 

REGION ONE:  #1 Denver Christian, #24 Peyton, #36 Plateau Valley

Ranked number one throughout the entire regular season, Denver Christian (23-0) is not only favored to advance to state but they’re the pick of many to land the championship.  They return the hitting duo of Jacki Bogner (293 kills) and Anna Kamingk (177) from last year’s club that lost to Yuma in the state finals.

Peyton (15-8) placed third in the Black Forest.  Their best win came early against Simla (3-1).  Riley Stearns (236 kills) leads the offense and Josie Lee (607 assists) the top setter.  Plateau Valley (14-8) went five hundred through a deep Western Slope league (8-8).

REGION TWO:  #2 Limon, #23 Vail Mountain, #35 Custer County

Despite the distance, there is familiarity between Limon and Vail Mountain as they met in the state tournament last year.  Limon won that contest 3-1 and they’re favored to win again as they return much more talent from that squad compared to the Gore Rangers.

Trista Marx (249 kills) and Sidney Hines (241) are a solid 1-2 hitting punch for Limon.  Amy Weisensee (180 assists) and Lauren Stang (106) share time at setter and all four played prominent roles for the Badgers last season.

Vail Mountain graduated their top two hitters including Sarah Evans (488 kills) from last year’s team.  Lexi Linafelter was third in hitting last year and paces the Gore Rangers with 250 kills this season.  They finished fourth in the Western Slope.

Custer County (13-10) pushed Del Norte and Sargent to five sets and also scored a win over Sanford this year (3-1).

REGION THREE:  #3 Meeker, #22 Telluride, #34 Sargent

Semifinalists the last two years, Meeker sits in good shape for a return there or even farther this year.  The Cowgirls (21-2) ran through the Western Slope league without a loss to claim another crown.  Losses came early against 3A Cedaredge and Limon.  Since they’ve rolled off 14 consecutive wins.

Top hitters include Julia Dinwiddie (307 kills), Emma Luce (210) and Caleigh Morland (146).  Kristen Brown, with 370 diggs, is the top defender while Becca Steerman (430 assists) Savannah Mendenhall (409) each see time at setter.

Telluride (18-5) lost in-state twice to both Dolores and Dove Creek and placed third behind those two in the San Juan. With just one senior in the rotation, the Miners are very young.  Sophomore Emery Berry leads the hitting charts with 213 kills.

Sargent (12-11) is coming off a 3-1 performance at the Gunnison tournament last week.  Included were a pair of wins over 3A opponents James Irwin and Monte Vista.

REGION FOUR:  #4 Union Colony Prep, #21 Akron, #33 Swallows Charter

With just two losses to Denver Christian and a third to Wiggins, Union Colony Prep is favored to advance from this bracket.  But both Akron and Swallows Charter are better than in the recent past and each could push the Timberwolves a bit.

The Wolves are led by Mayson Fago who enters her final post-season with 309 kills on the year and 1,035 for her career.  Sophomore Kamryn Arnold has developed into a very good second option.  She has 210 kills.  Desirae Pisano is a veteran setter (senior) with 558 assists.

Akron won just two matches last year but has produced 13 this year.  Their resume includes a recent win over Fowler (last week) and a sweep of 1A Weldon Valley.  Losses have come against a long list of quality teams such as Wiggins, Yuma, Sedgwick County, Haxtun, Otis, Limon and Merino.

Swallows Charter (14-7) had never won more than seven games in any season until this year.  Highlights thus far include wins over Fowler and Rye who are both hosting regional events this week.  Senior Jessie Vallejos tops the offense with 196 kills.

REGION FIVE:  #5 Wiggins, #20 Hoehne, #32 Vail Christian

The Tigers (18-5) need two wins this week to secure a third consecutive trip to the state tournament.  Finishing third in the Lower Platte, they’ve again been battle tested with losses to league champion Merino and defending state champion Yuma.  They also posted an impressive 3-0 sweep of Union Colony Prep in Greeley.

Five players have at least 100 kills for the Tigers; a group led by Bre Gilliland with 257.  Jenna White has 65 aces with the team registering 254 for the year.  She also leads the club with 703 assists.

Hoehne (12-11) started the season 3-0 with wins over Swink, Del Norte and Swallows Charter.  That opening stretch got them into the top 10 but they’ve battled consistency since.  The Farmers have won three of their last four including wins over Swink and Sargent.  Averie Navarette (194 kills) is their top player

Vail Christian (12-11) scored nine of their 12 wins in the Western Slope to finish third behind Meeker and West Grand.  In four combined matches against those two, the Saints won just one set.

REGION SIX:  #6 Simla, #19 Dawson, #31 John Mall

This region shapes up as a good battle between Simla and Dawson as both have put together solid seasons.  Simla again won the Black Forest championship but it wasn’t as easy as the recent past.  Dawson placed fourth in the Mile High conference but teams ahead of them were regional hosts Denver Christian and Union Colony Prep along with qualifier Highland.

Isabell Jurkia (177 kills) is the top hitter for Dawson with Nicole Scribner next with 135.  Angelina Sala served up 62 aces and added 298 diggs.  She also led all setters with 442 assists.

Simla (18-5) closed the regular season with a 2-1 showing at their own tournament.  They beat Florence and Burlington but fell short to Wiggins (2-1).  The Cubs also managed solid wins over Bennett, Ignacio and Fowler during the season.  Juniors Kaitlyn Rector (299) and Hannah Lutz (225) combined for over 500 kills for first year coach Kelly Kocerha.

John Mall (9-14) picked up five wins inside the tough Santa Fe.  Amanda Dotter (288 kills) and Shelby Faris (228) are the first two options at the net.

REGION SEVEN:  #7 West Grand, #18 Highland, #30 Ignacio

With little or no attention through the season, West Grand collected 19 wins and a runner-up finish to Meeker on the Western Slope.  Two of the losses came against the Cowgirls and they also fell to Cedaredge who will host a 3A regional this week.  The fourth loss a bit surprising in five sets to Vail Mountain in last week’s league tournament.

Emma DeSanti is a nice all-round player as she led the Mustangs with 208 kills, 40 aces and was second with 258 assists.  Alex Schake leads the defense with 337 diggs and is second with 178 kills.  Josephine Wheatley tops the team with 280 assists.

Because they compete in the Mile High, Highland could easily push West Grand for the regional crown.  The Huskies won 15 games overall including 10 in the conference to place third.  They’ll need to regain momentum after being swept by Union Colony Prep, Denver Christian and Dawson at last week’s league tournament.

Ignacio (13-10) spent several weeks in the statewide top 10 but struggled to put together wins over a long stretch.  Their longest winning streak of the season was three.  They went 1-2 at last week’s Rye tournament falling to both the Thunderbolts and Sanford.  Makayla Howell (214 kills) and Grace Gonzales (172) top the offense.

REGION EIGHT:  #8 Fowler, #17 Sanford, #29 Colorado Springs School

Both Fowler and Sanford have more than enough talent to advance from this bracket but they enter the post-season on different levels of momentum.  Fowler opened the season at 9-0 but has played five hundred volleyball over their last 14 matches (7-7).  Sanford won their final six matches to turn around a 7-8 start.

Part of the inconsistency for Fowler can be attributed to youth as their top four hitters are all underclassmen.  Sophomore Emily Flanscha sits atop the list with 236 kills and junior Kaley Pieper is second with 197.  Two others have at least 100 kills.

The Indians are coming off a championship at the Rye Invitational where they outlasted the Thunderbolts in five sets in the final.  They were also forced to five sets in earlier tourney wins over Ignacio and Rocky Ford.

Fowler played and beat Rye twice with both matches going four games.  The Grizzlies also dropped a five set battle with Rocky Ford.

Colorado Springs School (13-10) has good tradition with state tournament appearances.  Elise Layton, with 239 kills, is their number one option.

REGION NINE:  #9 Sedgwick County, #16 Fountain Valley, #28 Rocky Ford

Consider this a wide open tournament featuring three teams that are relatively new to the post-season experience.  Sedgwick County is the host squad and thus the favorite but this program won just three matches each year from 2015-17.  They bumped to 10 last year and jumped to 15 this year.  A very early win over defending state champion Yuma earned them some statewide notice but they still ended up fifth in a very good Lower Platte league.

It’s been a slow build for Fountain Valley (15-8).  They won four matches in 2013, two in 2014 but slowly moved to 10 victories last year.  Their 15 victories this season are the most in school history.  Annaliese Fricke produced 242 kills as a sophomore.

Rocky Ford captured just 21 match victories from 2010-2015 but has hovered around five hundred each year since.  Their 13 victories are the most since MaxPreps starting tracking yearly results in 2007.  Lily Hancock (235 kills) and Gracie Moreland (184) get the most opportunities on offense.

REGION TEN:  #10 Dolores, #15 Clear Creek, #27 Soroco

While a few San Juan clubs receiving top 10 voting recognition through much of the season, Dolores didn’t garner enough votes to get there until very late in the season.  All the Bears did this year was win the conference championship and run through the league slate without a loss.

Three of the Bears’ losses came very early when division one signee (Northern Arizona) Jordan Elder was out with injury.  She returned to lead the Bears with 226 kills and is the likely conference player of the year for a second straight season.  Erin Brown (203 kills) is another option at the net while Kamri Willbanks (329 assists) and Carlie McClellan (244) share duties at setter.

Clear Creek (15-8) is another regional entrant from the Mile High where they placed fifth.  Juniors Makena Weber (201 kills) and Luna Weaver (129) are the top hitters.  They’ve also combined for 74 aces.  Zeda Taylor tops the defense with 432 diggs.

Soroco (12-8) won five of their final seven matches with the two losses coming to regional hosts and league rivals West Grand and Meeker.  The Rams took two sets from the Mustangs and one from the Cowgirls.  Makinley Parker leads the Rams with 163 kills.

REGION ELEVEN:  #11 Del Norte, #14 Swink, #26 Holyoke

This is another district where at least two or possibly all three could contend for the title.  But the host Tigers remain the favorite based on their sweep of Swink less than two weeks ago (October 26th).  That win is part of Del Norte’s nine match winning streak as they’ve not lost since October 5th.

A state tournament club from last year, they’re led this year by Kaeci Madrid (232 kills) and Chloe McComas (182) up front.  Senior Kendra Parra is third with 142 kills.  Mackenzie Owsley has added 452 assists.

Swink recovered from the Del Norte loss to beat Fowler five days later (3-1) and that victory gave the Lions the Santa Fe championship outright.  They’ve split their last eight matches overall.  Brooklyn Mueller is a potential first-team all-state performer as she has 331 kills on the season.  Edit Morales has 217.

Holyoke (13-10) is only three games above five hundred but coming out of the Lower Platte, they will be a tough out.  They also have a chance in every match as Kristin Vieselmeyer is among the top hitters statewide.  The sophomore enters the regional round with 390 kills and needs just 15 to reach 600 for her career.  Vieselmeyer also has 98 blocks and 35 aces.

REGION TWELVE:  #12 Rye, #13 Yuma, #25 Calhan

Despite dropping four of their last six matches, Rye did enough during the rest of the season to finish 12th in RPI and earn the last regional host berth.  That’s the reward.  The risk in ending up 12th is now Yuma is placed in the pairings.  The Indians are the defending state champions and have reached the state final five straight years.

Rye’s strength is offensive balance.  Five players have at least 100 kills but no individual has more than 160. The top two are Tess Zupanic (159) and Havilah Pitzer (136).  Ashyln Romine, with a whopping 742 diggs, is a premier defender and she gets help from Audrey Himmelberg (433),  Jolee Ortiz (372) and Ella Peters (354).

Yuma has spent much of the season underwater but wins in five of their last six put them at 13-10 as they begin defense of their state title.  Despite the early struggles, they still managed to place second behind 1A power Merino in the Lower Platte.

The Indians do have returning talent from last year’s state title team.  Elle Roth came off the bench last year but the sophomore is now the number one option up front.  She has a team-best 278 kills.  Ema Richardson also saw heavy minutes in 2018 and is second with 173.  Reagan Nolin was the lead setter on last year’s title team and has 608 assists this season.

Calhan (11-11) finished the season at the Crowley County tournament where they scored quality wins over Holyoke and Swallows Charter.


Kevin Shaffer

Kevin Shaffer

Kevin Shaffer is the founder and owner of the Colorado Preps Network which debuted in the summer of 2003. Kevin and his wife Lanette reside in Fort Morgan and are the proud parents of Lexi and Tyler.

1 Comment

  1. Region 4 should actually read something like this…
    “After their mid-season snaffu against Wiggins, Union Colony has been quietly gaining momentum. The Timberwolves
    are the only team to challenge the likes of the seemingly flawless game of Denver Christian.
    After their first meeting, Union Colony made a statement. The Timberwolves handily took a Set, to break the Thunders 52 consecutive Set win streak.
    In their most recent meeting, the score of their first set was a staggering battle of 37-35. If the first statement wasn’t heard, the second left Denver Christian talking.
    It looks like Union Colony may have one more chance at redemption. As they will likely face off one more time… in the state championship game.”

    Hope to see you there Kevin!

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