Two of the top six matches that we listed for 2A volleyball this week have already been played but that leaves the remaining four still on tap for the weekend.  Our report this week includes recaps of the two already completed, a preview of what’s ahead and a complete rundown of the Top 10 teams.
We begin in the 10-team Santa Fe conference where many clubs have already played five or six conference matchups.  The league has been split into two divisions this year with Rye, Fowler, Hoehne, John Mall and Swallows Charter making up the West and Swink, Crowley County, Rocky Ford, Las Animas and Holly comprising the East.
The most recent “important game” took place on Tuesday as #8 Rye topped Fowler 3-0.  The result left both teams with one conference loss and tied with Hoehne atop the West.  Rachel Shaffer paced the Thunderbolts with 16 kills in 34 attempts while Hannah Ambler added six kills.  Tess Zupancic and Madison Gooken combined for five blocks and Ashlyn Romine was another defensive key with 42 diggs.  Shaffer chipped in 25.
Both clubs get right back into on Thursday against top rivals.  Rye faces Hoehne and Fowler battles Swink.  If the 3rd ranked Lions get by Fowler as expected, then the winner of Rye-Hoehne gains sole possession of the Western division lead.
Swink (7-0) has already beaten Rye and Hoehne so a win over Fowler gives them a clean sweep of the top teams from the West.  The Lions already lead the East by two games over Crowley County and Rocky Ford (both 2-2) and a win over Fowler will give them complete control of their divisional chase.
The top four hitters for Swink all have at least 38 kills.  Brianna Denton tops the chart with 59, Skyler Jones is next with 51 while Kyla O’Neal (40) and Brooklyn Mueller (38) have combined for 78.  The Lions also get quick points through serving with four players in double digits for aces.  Tierra Holland has a team-leading 19; Denton has 15, Jasmin Gonzales 12 and Jones 10.
After battling long-time rival Fowler, Swink also has a test with 1A #2 La Veta on Saturday.  The Redskins quickly dropped to fourth following an exciting five-set loss to defending 1A champion Kit Carson but rightfully moved back to second this week.  The Redskins are paced by Kaylee Corsentino and Nya Sciacca who combined for 68 kills through the first three matches and each has plenty of state tournament experience.
Hoehne has won five of their last six with only a loss to 3A Centauri breaking the streak.  Included in the recent stretch are wins over Limon and Holly.  They also meet Fowler next Thursday so a win over Rye this week and the Grizzlies next week put them alone in first place.
Averie Navarette, with 72 kills, continues to pace the Farmers’ offense.  Autumn Garcia is next with 59 and Kamryn Baca-Cordova has 50.
Rye has a third difficult test this week as they also host #6 Del Norte in non-league play on Saturday.  The Tigers (7-1) are favored against South Park on Friday and a win there gives them a seven-match winning streak heading to the weekend.  They’ve already beaten Sanford and Sargent so they appear to be the favorite in the Southern Peaks but a win over Rye gives them a much-needed quality win outside the San Luis Valley.
#7 Simla put an end to a short two-match losing streak by sweeping Calhan 3-0 on Tuesday.  The Cubs lost to 3A opponents Bennett and Eagle Ridge Academy at the Bennet Invitational last Saturday.  They also have an important league date with Colorado Springs School on Saturday.  The Cubs and Kodiaks have routinely finished 1-2 in the Black Forest for many years.
The top two teams in Class 2A could get challenged this weekend.  Top ranked Yuma meets #10 Akron on Thursday and then hosts #3 University (3A) on Saturday.  #2 Meeker should get by Hayden at home Thursday but then has a long road trip to face Limon on Saturday.  They then stay in the region to play at Rocky Ford on Saturday.
Yuma cannot look past Akron as the Rams are vastly improved from last season, but don’t blame the Indians if they’re looking to the rematch with University.  Their 2017 meeting was among the best in the regular season for any class.  Yuma led 2-0 at home but the Bulldogs rallied to win the next three sets and collect a rare road win in “the Pit”.
Both teams return quality players from that match.  Yuma’s Cody Robinson (27) and Chasey Blach (26) combined for 53 kills while University picked up 17 from Madelyn Malm.  The Bulldogs also return Abby Schaefer (33 diggs) and Alexsei Vierya (45 assists).
The Indians are playing good volleyball right now after allowing just 26 points in a quick three-setter over Burlington on Tuesday.  They’ve dropped only one set all season and none against a Colorado opponent.
Akron (5-2) won just two matches last season but has already surpassed that total by three this year.  Second year coach Kati Kuntz also has the Rams back in the rankings for the first time in a few years.  They snapped a four-match winning streak against Otis last Saturday at the NJC.  Otis Coach Bonnie Wallin-Kuntz, Kati’s Mom, led the Bulldogs to a 3-0 win in what was likely a tough match for both coaches.
The Rams of course are underdogs against Yuma but the game gives them another marker to see how much they’ve improved.  They lost in three sets last year and scored only 32 points in three games.
Meeker moved past Vail Christian (3-0) and Vail Mountain (3-1) in conference play last week.  The match with Vail Mountain marked just the second time this season the Cowboys have been pushed past three sets.  Krissie Luce (11 kills), Lila Klingensmith (18 diggs — 3 aces) and Kassie Luce (28 assists) were category leaders against Vail Christian. Krissie Luce added 15 kills and Julia Dinwiddie 14 against Vail Mountain while Klingensmith added 25 diggs and Kassie Luce 45 assists.
Limon has struggled of late and a loss to Yuma last week dropped them out of the rankings.  They also fell short to Bennett in a five-set marathon on Tuesday.  The Badgers dropped the first two sets 28-30 and 23-25 but won games three and four before losing set five 15-10.  It’s a match they could have easily put in the win column.
Their schedule doesn’t get any easier next week as they meet Kit Carson and Denver Christian in back-to-back matches on the 20th and 21st.  We also expect them to host several Eastern Colorado coaches who can get an in-person look at the Cowboys who could be the top 2A team from the West this year.
#3 Wiggins worked three hard sets to beat Haxtun on Tuesday (25-21, 25-22, 25-20) but the win pushed their record to 8-0.  They’re off the rest of the week.
#5 Denver Christian topped Front Range Christian for their third straight win Tuesday night.  They should keep up winning ways on Thursday against Longmont Christian but could get pushed against 3A Colorado Academy this Saturday.  Defending state champion Lyons and Limon lurk on the schedule for next week.
#9 Union Colony Prep joins Akron as newcomers to the rankings.  With Lyons and Dayspring Christian both struggling this year, the Timberwolves (7-1) could be the team to challenge Denver Christian for the Mile High championship.  They’ve won six straight including two-set wins over Lyons and Paonia at the Dawson Tournament this past weekend.  Mayson Fago had eight kills and Hailey Wood six for Union Colony.  Their next match is Thursday at Denver Academy.