A few important matches have already been played in Class 2A volleyball this week and results created some space atop one conference race and tightened up others. More contests on tap later this week could do more of the same.
Maybe the most congested race is the Mile-High Standings where five teams remain within one game of first place. Three teams opened the week sharing the top spot but Dawson fell from the ranks in a five-set loss to defending state champion Lyons on Tuesday night. They are now tied with Lyons and Highland in third place and all three teams are one game back of Denver Christian and Union Colony Prep.
Taylor Maguire is back healthy and leading Lyons at the night. She recorded a season best 30 kills and Kylen Christiansen dropped in 20 as the Lions recorded 64 as a team. Christiansen also dished out 32 assists and led the team with 27 diggs.
The defending state champions have now won five straight since a conference loss to Denver Christian and the Lions can take out another first-place team when they visit Union Colony Prep on Thursday. The Timberwolves topped Lyons 2-0 at the Dawson tournament earlier this year behind eight kills from Mayson Fago and six from Hailey Wood. Maguire and Christiansen combined for 13 kills for Lyons.
Another crucial match on the schedule this week is Wednesday night between Dawson and Highland. With a second straight loss, Dawson could tumble from first to fifth in just two days. Highland has won seven straight since a conference loss to Union Colony Prep. Olivia Himmel (168 kills) and Chloe Bolt (114) lead the Huskies attack.
Denver Christian has two matches on their schedule this week including a home test against Dayspring Christian. The Eagles have visited the state tournament the last two years and a virtually completely new roster this year has improved since the start of the season. They’re sixth in the conference standings and sit 25th in RPI.
Overall the conference could host as many as four regional tournaments. Denver Christian and Union Colony are both in the top five while Dawson (13th) and Lyons (15th) could also climb into the top 12 as well. Up to four other teams could also qualify.
Yuma and Wiggins are first and third in the latest RPI standings that were updated Wednesday morning and as expected their match next week will determine the Lower Platte league championship. Yuma set the stage by downing Merino on Tuesday night. Wiggins also has a win over Merino and both the Tigers and Indians have at least a two-game edge on all other league teams.
The Indians and Tigers get together a week from Friday (October 12th). Both teams are playing very good volleyball. In the battle of top ranked teams, Yuma rallied past #1 Kit Carson (1A) in five-sets. Chasey Blach powered down 23 kills to pace the Indians and her first of the match got her to 1,000 for her career. Cody Robinson added 19 kills while Taylor Hansen and Elle Roth contributed seven apiece. Robinson added 31 diggs and Reagan Nolin doled out a season best 50 assists.
The Tigers improved to 11-1 by beating Byers in four sets on Tuesday night. They return to league play at Wray on Friday and then have a difficult three game stretch following against Briggsdale, Yuma and Union Colony Prep. Yuma returns home to meet 1A Fleming on Friday.
Limon (5-9) is below five hundred for the season but the Badgers took over first place in the Union Pacific by beating Stratton/Liberty 3-1 on Tuesday. Both teams were unbeaten in league play going in but now the Badgers lead the Knighted Eagles, Flagler/Hi Plains and Byers by one game in the loss column. Limon also has a win over Flagler/Hi Plains so they’re basically a win over Byers away from landing the conference title. The two rivals collide on October 18th.
The Badgers improved to 18th in the RPI standings with the win. Byers is four spots ahead at 14th. Both teams are solid entrees to the regional tournament and one could end up creeping into the top 12 and host an event. Burlington is a third 2A club in the league but the Cougars are only 45th in the RPI and have work to do to play past the regular season.
Meeker heads to the weekend tied with 1A DeBeque for the Western Slope lead and both teams are one game up on Vail Mountain. The standings will get altered a bit on Friday when DeBeque meets Vail Mountain. The Cowboys play Plateau Valley the same night. Meeker has already beaten Vail Mountain and will face DeBeque on October 16th.
Vail Mountain has won eight of nine since being swept by Meeker in early September. Sarah Evans tops the hitting charts with 128 kills and has been in double figures in every match this season.
Two conference losses apiece, Rangely and Paonia share fourth place. The Panthers have the advantage in getting the spot as they have the head-to-head win plus Paonia must still face both Meeker and Vail Mountain. Rangely has only one match remaining against a top three team and that’s against DeBeque. This week, the Panthers go to Hayden on Friday and host Cedaredge on Saturday. Paonia lost to Cedaredge on Tuesday night and returns to league this weekend against North Park and Soroco.
We don’t expect the standings inside the Black Forest to change much the rest of the season. Simla (6-0) leads the way but has already beaten second place Colorado Springs School (4-1) and Peyton (4-2). CSS also has a win over Peyton so the top three teams may be set. All three teams seem solid for the regional tournament as Simla in 17th in the RPI, Peyton 21st and Colorado Springs School 28th.
1A Dove Creek has control of the San Juan chase. The Bulldogs (5-0) lead Dolores (6-1) and Mancos (5-1) by one game but have wins over both teams and they do not play a second time. The more interesting race is for second as Dolores and Mancos still have two head-to-head meetings remaining on the schedule. Those two matches take place over a five-day period on October 23rd and 27th.
Dolores is at Creede on Thursday. It’s their only activity of the week. Mancos topped Ignacio on Tuesday. The Bears are 26th in RPI this week and Mancos is 30th. Telluride is the next highest ranked team (44th) so the league could get only two post-season bids.
It’s basically the same scenario in the Southern Peaks. Del Norte (7-0) has a two-game edge on Sanford and Sargent and beat both teams for a second time last week. Sanford and Sargent though still have two matches left and the first is this Friday in Sargent. Game two is on October 20th to close the season.
For Del Norte, their goal for the rest of the season is to nail down a top 12 RPI standing to host a regional tournament. They’re in good shape as they sit 6th in the latest numbers released on Wednesday. Tough matches with Sangre De Cristo and Swink in the closing two weeks will boost their strength of schedule. They have a busy weekend against Custer County on Thursday and both Center and Crested Butte on Saturday.
Holly probably doesn’t have enough matches remaining to catch Swink in the Santa Fe Eastern division but the Wildcats may be playing the best volleyball of any team in that league. They handed Swink their first league loss last week (3-2) and scored a second five-set win over Fowler on Tuesday. It was their third straight win but they remain two games back of Swink in the Eastern division. The Wildcats go to John Mall on Thursday and then take part in the McClave Tournament on Saturday where they could meet Swink again.
Including John Mall, Holly has just four league matches remaining and must win all four and have Swink lose twice to force a tie atop the division. Swink this week goes to Las Animas on Thursday and also plays Rocky Ford on the 18th.
Rye and Hoehne continue to share the Western division lead with just one conference loss apiece. Rye took the first head-to-head clash in five sets and the rematch is set for October 11th. Hoehne survived Rocky Ford in five-sets on Tuesday to keep a share of the lead. It was their only match on the schedule this week. Rye meets third-place Fowler on Thursday and then makes the trek to Rocky Ford on Saturday.
The league is good shape to host two regional tournaments as Swink and Rye are 7th and 8th in the latest standings. Hoehne (16th) and Holly (20th) could also move up. John Mall (24th) and Fowler (27th) seem to be in good shape to make the 36-team regional field while Rocky Ford (33rd) is in position to join them.