Big weekends are in store for Rangely and Holyoke. Neither team is ranked but both clubs are unbeaten in league play and very much alive for their respective conference championship. Each meets a traditional power with first place on the line. Holyoke welcomes in Yuma on Friday and Rangely faces Paonia the next afternoon.
Rangely and Paonia are part of a three-way tie for the top spot out west with Meeker. The three clubs are a combined 23-0 and will break the tie with head-to-head matchups starting with Rangely & Paonia this week. Meeker faces both the Panthers and Eagles on back-to-back nights next weekend to close the regular season. The clubs are also three games up Vail Mountain and West Grand so regardless of the outcome, they should finish 1-2-3 at seasons end.
The Panthers are 13-2 overall with their lone in-state loss to Telluride on September 2nd. They’ve won nine straight overall since a loss to Little Snake River WY. Included is a non-league five-set win over Meeker on September 19th.
Katelyn Brown has 103 kills to top the Panthers on offense. She’s been in double figures in five matches this season including a season 13 last Friday in a sweep of Hayden. Sarah Conner is next with 96 kills and has recorded at least five in each conference match. Connor leads the Panthers with 46 blocks and Marlena Miller has 37. Kassidee Brown is the top setter with 293 assists.
Over the years, Paonia of course has been the bell weather for teams on the Western Slope. The Eagles last league loss came in 2011 and that’s the last time they’ve lost to the Panthers.
They’re 8-0 this season but the road to the top has been a bit more difficult. Included in their run are five set league wins over Cedaredge and DeBeque. The Eagles split two matches last week falling to 5A Grand Junction in three but bouncing back to take out Hotchkiss 3-0.
McKenna Palmer continues to lead the offense with 182 kills which is 102 better than the next teammate. The senior has dropped in at least 17 kills in four matches this year and has been in double figures in all but one. Palmer is also the top server with 30 aces. Poppy Lightfoot (173) and Carly Horn (157) have shared setting duties this season combining for 330 assists overall.
Both Rangely and Paonia have additional matches this week. The Panthers head to West Grand on Friday and Paonia is at Olathe on Thursday. Meeker kept pace with the two by beating Grand Valley on Tuesday and heads to Vail Christian on Saturday.
Holyoke enters the showdown with top ranked Yuma coming off a four-set loss to Prairie. The loss snapped the Dragons four match winning streak. Their only other in-state loss is against defending 2A state champion Dayspring Christian during the NJC Tournament very early in the season.
The match with Yuma starts a critical two-day stretch as they also visit Wiggins on Saturday. Wins in both give the Dragons control of the Lower Platte; two losses could drop them all the way to fourth.
Grace Dille is the main option for the Dragons at the net. The senior needs just four kills to reach 200 for the season and she’s been on a good run of late. Dille has finished with at least 13 kills in her last five matches and has three matches this year of at least 20 kills. The latest came last week against Idalia as she ended with 22 in just 37 attacks.
Taeryn Trumper is second with 63 kills and Emma Roll has 54. Four others have at least 21 kills this season. Savannah Burris has 226 assists and is the top setter but Kaylee Camblin also sees time there and enters the weekend with 132.
Yuma has played two five-set matches this season beating Lyons and falling to 3A University. Everything else has been a three-game sweep including five conference victories. The Indians have won their last 30 league matches with the last loss coming to Caliche during the 2013 season. They last dropped a match to Holyoke at the end of the 2010 season.
Chasey Blach (244) and Cody Robinson (180) lead Yuma in hitting and have carried that trend into conference play. Blach powered her way to a season high 23 against Merino and picked up 14 more in last week’s key win over Wiggins. She has 93 kills in the five league wins. Robinson has 70 in league action including a team best 16 against Wiggins.
Five players have at least 125 diggs on the season led by Robinson with 200 and Kyle Rayl with 192. Kenedy Roth averages nearly 11 assists per set and has totaled 502 for the season against just 13 errors.
Behind the two leaders are Haxtun (4-1) and Wiggins (3-2) in third and fourth. The Bulldogs face Caliche on Friday but have an important match with Holyoke next week. Wiggins heads to Merino on Thursday before meeting Holyoke on the weekend.
It’s still very crowded at the top of the Mile-HIgh conference with Lyons, Union Colony and Dawson sharing the top spot with one loss apiece. Based on remaining schedule, the Lions appear to be in the best position. They’ve beaten both Union Colony and Dawson so they have tiebreakers on both and don’t face any other top clubs in their remaining schedule. They close next week with matches against Denver Academy and Twin Peaks Charter.
Three key matches remain on the schedule this week. Dawson and Union Colony collide on Saturday but the Timberwolves also meet Highland and Dawson faces Dayspring Christian. The opponents are tied for fourth with two losses so based on results, the standings could look quite a bit different going into the final week.
Union Colony has been red hot of late with wins over Dayspring Christian and Denver Christian the past two weeks.
Mayson Fago led Union Colony with 14 kills in last week’s five-set win over Denver Christian. Lynndee Veik added eight and Jadyn Aske five. Aske added 16 assists. Against Dayspring, Veik led the way with 16 kills and Kelsey McWhorter had 10.
Dawson has won their last three since their only conference loss to Lyons. Elisabeth Porry leads the Mustangs with 119 kills including a season best 16 in a key league win over Highland. Stella Bristol is next on the team with 84 kills. She’s been in double figures three times including 13 against both Longmont Christian and Front Range Christian.
Hoehne moved to 10-2 in the Santa Fe by beating John Mall on the road Tuesday. Swink looks to match that record with a home over Rocky Ford on Thursday. Both clubs are in action again on Saturday but only one has a conference match. Hoehne is at Crowley County while Swink goes to Del Norte.
Del Norte is two games back of Sargent in the Southern Peaks chase so the Tigers need some help to get back in the chase. They meet the Farmers on the 20th but unless Sargent drops a match this week, that contest could be meaningless to the title chase. Sargent meets both South Park and Custer County on Saturday. Custer County is battling Sanford for third place.
Simla took a major step to the Black Forest crown by sweeping Colorado Springs School last week. The win left the Cubs alone atop the standings. They lead the Kodiaks and Fountain Valley by one game and can basically clinch the title by beating Fountain Valley on Saturday.
Jerraldawn Rector, with 11 kills, paced Simla against CSS. Riley Maranville added seven and Kegan Hamacher had six. They’ve won two more matches since beating the Kodiaks including a nice four-set win over Byers earlier this week.
Byers has a key Union Pacific match with Stratton/Liberty on Thursday. The Bulldog start the match unbeaten in the conference and tied with Limon in first place. Stratton/Liberty is 1-1 in league play and sits just one game back.
Lauren Marin leads the Bulldogs with 77 kills. Tori Lueck (75) and Savannah Rothbauer (71) have combined for 146 for the Knighted Eagles.
Dolores is nearing an unbeaten run through the San Juan conference. The Bears collected their 11th league win on Tuesday against Ignacio. They’re 14-1 overall. Jordan Elder had 14 kills in the win and the rest of the team combined for 10. Tatum Majors and Abby Jones each provided three aces.
On deck for the Bears are two more matches this week. They meet Dove Creek on Thursday and Ridgway on Saturday. Both meetings are rematches of good contests earlier in the season. Dolores beat Dove Creek in four and Ridgway in five. The rematch with Dove Creek is a non-conference contest. Ridgway is fourth in the conference with two league losses.>