#1 Yuma and #2 Lyons meet on Friday in a match that will gain headlines across the state but both teams have plenty of work to do in conference play before thinking about their head-to-head meeting.Â If both teams get to Friday’s meeting with a loss, the non-conference date will greatly factor into RPI standings and the winner will be ranked #1 in next week’s 2A rankings.
Both teams are coming off exhausting matches.Â Yuma led University two sets to none on Saturday but then lost the final three to experience their first loss of the season.Â Lyons went five sets twice last week but both ended up as crucial conference wins over Union Colony Prep and Dayspring Christian.Â The Lions trailed in both matches; down 2-0 at home to the Timberwolves and 2-1 on the road to the defending state champion Eagles.
Lyons faces another critical league test at home against #7 Denver Christian on Tuesday night.Â Another win gives them complete control of the Mile High league race and the inside track to the top district seed in late October.
Denver Christian is 4-0 in conference play and tied with Dawson and Lyons for the early conference lead.Â But while the Lions have played and beaten two of the top challengers, the Thunder have not.Â They meet Dayspring Christian, Union Colony Prep and Dawson all in the final 15 days of the regular season.Â Dawson is in the same boat.Â They meet Lyons next week but then Dayspring Christian and Union Colony wait until mid-October.
Taylor Maguire continues to lead Lyons in hitting as she combined for 29 kills in the two wins last week.Â Ixcel Leeuwenburgh added 17 and Haley Karsel 14.Â Sarah Stevelinck totaled 61 digs and Kylen Christiansen 77 assists.
The Thunder have won five in a row since falling to 4A Steamboat Springs at the Glenwood Springs Tournament.Â They’ve not dropped a set in the stretch and included are league wins over Front Range Christian and Nederland.
Even with the league loss, the bigger concern for Dayspring Christian is the health of Katie Kurz.Â The returning playoff of the year in Class 2A injured her elbow diving for a ball against Lyons.Â She departed the game midway through the fourth set and did not return.Â Kurz powered down 16 kills before leaving; finishing one behind teammate Megan Roberts (17) on the night.Â She easily could be kept out of the league match with Twin Peaks Charter Thursday as the Eagles will be heavily favored there but the Eagles also head to Simla for a tournament on Saturday.
Yuma has an important Lower Platte meeting at home with Haxtun on Thursday.Â Both teams are unbeaten in conference play and share the top spot with Holyoke.Â Yuma has sweeps of Merino and Sedgwick County in league action while Haxtun has wins over Merino and Wray.Â The Bulldogs also have a great test with 1A power Otis on Tuesday in a nice tune-up for the trip to Yuma.
In the two league wins, Yuma collected 39 kills from Chasey Blach and 33 from Cody Robinson.Â Reagan Nolin served up seven aces and Kenedy Roth dished out 77 assists.
Haxtun has not posted individual stats on MaxPreps but they feature key middle hitters Dawson Knode and Marissa Schelling.Â Another key player is captain and setter Kaitlyn Anderson.
Holyoke has dropped two of their three contests overall but has posted conference wins over Akron, Merino and Caliche.Â All three matches ended up 3-1.
The Western Slope has seven teams within one game of the early conference lead.Â Paonia (5-0), Rangely (3-0) and Meeker (2-0) are in first place with Vail Mountain, Hotchkiss, DeBeque and West Grand one game back in the loss column.Â Of those clubs, Meeker may have the most difficult week in store as they meet both Rangely and West Grand.
The Cowgirls kept a share of first place with a thrilling five set win over Vail Mountain last week.Â The match was tight the entire way as the first four sets were all decided by two points or less and three went into extras.Â Overall, Meeker scored 117 points in the match and Vail Mountain 114.
Krissie Luce padded Meeker with 22 kills, Julia Dinwiddle added 12 and Carleigh Morgan 10.Â Kassie Luce chipped in 13 digs and 45 assists.
Rangely has posted league wins over DeBeque, Caprock Academy and Plateau Valley.Â Complete stats have not been published but the Panthers are getting good play at the net from Sarah Connor, Katelyn Brown and Klaire Denny.
West Grand suffered a league loss to Paonia (3-0) last Friday but recovered nicely to beat Hotchkiss in five sets the next afternoon.Â That decision kept the Mustangs within a game of the leaders.Â Paonia picked up 13 kills from McKenna Palmer in the win.
Regardless of what else happens, Paonia will keep a share of the conference lead into next week.Â They take a break from league play and have just one match on the schedule this week; at home against Nucla Saturday.
The Santa Fe league chase seems to change quite a bit each week.Â Swink (5-1) and Fowler (4-1) open the week tied for the top spot and if the Grizzlies beat John Mall on Tuesday night then the two leaders square off for the outright lead on Thursday. Â Â John Mall, Rocky Ford and Hoehne all have two league losses and are one game behind the leaders.
Fowler is involved in a difficult stretch.Â Following John Mall and Swink this week, the Grizzlies tangle with Hoehne and Rocky Ford next week.
Following an opening loss to Hoehne, Fowler has won four straight.Â Elizabeth Hagerman leads the attack with 59 kills.Â Tatyanna Bradshaw has chipped in 37 and four others have at least 20 in what’s becoming a balanced offense.
Swink’s lone league loss is against John Mall but they also have wins over Hoehne and Rocky Ford.Â They will meet all three teams a second time later in the season.Â They too are balanced up front as four players have at least 40 kills.Â Brooklyn Mueller leads the list with 58 kills.Â Brianna Denton and Skyler Jones are next with 48 and Kyla O’Neal has 41.
It’s very early in the Black Forest but Simla has already posted a pair of league victories; downing Calhan in the season opener and Ellicott last Saturday.Â The Cubs are 7-1 and as mentioned earlier will host a tournament on Saturday.Â In addition to Dayspring Christian, the talented field also includes returning state tournament qualifiers Hoehne and Wray along with Soroco and Ignacio.
Sargent and Del Norte play an early important match inside the Southern Peaks.Â They were the pre-season picks to battle for the championship and neither has dropped a conference match yet.Â They collide on Thursday.
The Farmers have been very busy of late beating conference rivals Center, Sanford, South Park, Crested Butte and Custer County over an eight day span that ended last Saturday.
Dolores (4-0) is the top 2A club in the San Juan conference and the Bears are tied with Dove Creek for the early lead there.Â The Bears are at Mancos on Thursday and then host Telluride on Saturday.Â Dolores topped the Miners 3-1 earlier this season behind 11 kills from Jordan Elder and 10 from Sierra Schwartz.Â Abby Jones also delivered 28 assists.Â The Miners picked up eight kills from Lauren Purdy, seven from Baylee Williams and six from two others.
RPI STANDINGS (AS POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 19TH)
- Rocky Ford
- John Mall
- Custer County
- Dayspring Christian
- Clear Creek
- Union Colony Prep
- Del Norte