3A VOLLEYBALL REGIONAL PREVIEW

Eaton begins their quest for a fifth consecutive state championship as the number one seed in regional tournaments.  Chasing the Reds are 35 other teams and we look at each team and all 12 regional brackets.  Winners of each tournament advance to the state event November 10-11th at the Denver Coliseum.
 

REGION #1 — EATON HIGH SCHOOL

Two wins this week and four more next week will give Eaton (21-2) a fifth consecutive state championship and allow them a chance next year to tie the all-time mark of six in a row by Colorado Springs Christian.  Since the Reds opened the championship run at the start of the 2013 season, they’ve won 131 games and dropped only six.  Of those six losses, only one has been against a 3A program.  They lost to Manitou Springs on September 7th, 2013 but avenged that decision in the state title match later that same season.  The two losses this year are both against 4A state favorite Lewis Palmer.
Two key players for Eaton are Makenzie Harris and Chelsea Lockey.  Harris is among the best hitters in Colorado and enters the post-season with 391 kills and a hitting percentage of 48.9.  Lockey is a four-year starter at setter and has 747 assists this year and 3,434 for her career.
Pinnacle (17-6) has won five of six with the only blemish a two-set loss to Bennett in tournament play last week.  Lesley Lujan leads the Timberwolves with 120 kills and Karina Ramos-Leanos has served up 60 aces.  Ramos-Leanos also leads the team in assists with 437.
Skyview Academy (6-17) is the last team invited into the bracket.  They placed 10th in the Metro conference.  Complete stats have not been submitted to MaxPreps
 

REGION #2 — LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL

A Metro league championship and strong finish pushed Lutheran (20-3) all the way to second in RPI and regional seeding.  The Lions grabbed the conference crown with a 3-0 sweep of Faith Christian on October 24th and then won all four matches inside the Metro league tournament.  They dropped just two sets in doing so.  The Lions enter the regional tournament winners in 20 of their last 21 matches.  Early losses came against Valley and Platte Valley in the opening week and their only loss since was against Machebeuf in Metro league play.
Payton Brgoch leads the Lions with 205 kills but gets plenty of help from Abby Akers (180) and Tori Bjorgum (140).  Kennedy Johnson tops the club with 413 assists.
Tough competition could come from Bayfield (13-10).  The Wolverines are just three games above five hundred but they’ve played a strong schedule and have great tradition.  They’ve dropped five of their last seven but the schedule down the stretch included losses to Centauri, Durango, Discovery Canyon, Coronado and Doherty.  Wins were against Pueblo South and Pagosa Springs.
The Wolverines lost top hitter Jade Pascale to injury very early in the season and have had to turn to the duo of Kylee McCoy (146 kills) and Mavis Edwards (123) to finish points.  Courtney Bayles is the setter and has 461 assists thus far.
Florence has been one of the biggest surprises in Class 3A.  The Huskies won just two matches in 2016 but bumped that to 15 this year to earn a berth in the regional tournament.  They split 12 conference games and finished 8th in the Tri Peaks.  Sophomores Sydney Connors (130 kills) and Kaitlin Reynolds (109) are the top hitters.  Senior Brittany Cornella is next with 108.
 

REGION #3 — FAITH CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL

Strong in the RPI throughout the season, Faith Christian (18-5) earned the third regional seed and will host Aspen (13-6) and Rye (13-10) this weekend.  The Eagles placed second to Lutheran in the Metro conference and their only two losses since September 18th are against the Lions.  Over the same stretch, they’ve dropped just three sets in picking up a dozen wins.
Alina Randall (182 kills) and Bella Keister (161) provide a nice one-two punch at the net.  Sophia Keister has added 119 kills and handed out 284 assists.  Her assist total is second on the team to Allure Padilla (392).
Aspen’s 13 wins are the most for the program since the Skiers went 12-10 in 2008.  It’s also their first winning season since then.  They also went 7-2 in conference play; good enough for a third-place finish behind Coal Ridge and Delta.  The Skiers split four matches at the Manitou Springs tournament last week.  Stats have not been reported to MaxPreps.
Rye finished a solid sixth in a deep Tri Peaks conference this year.  The Thunderbolts opened the season with six straight wins but are 7-10 since and have not won more than two straight matches during the stretch.  Rachel Shaffer (171) and Kylie Baudino (136) have combined for over 300 kills.  Four players also have over 25 aces on the season.
 

REGION #4 — UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL

University (19-4) enters the post-season on the strength of eight wins in their last nine matches.  Their only loss in the stretch came against 5A Legend at the Titans Invitational last weekend.  Otherwise, the Bulldogs lost twice to Eaton and came up short to Niwot.  Quality wins have come against Windsor, Montrose, Yuma, Resurrection Christian, Valley and Columbine.  They’ve also beaten Colorado Springs Christian (13-10) and will face the Lions again in regional tournament play.
Aracely Hernandez and Madelyn Malm have compiled similar seasons.  Hernandez is at 210 kills for the season and Malm 200.  Both are hitting over 40 percent overall.  Alexsei Vierya leads the Bulldogs with 495 assists against just two ball handling errors.
CSCS was one of the last teams in September to see game action but they’ve finished with a flurry. The Lions have played ten matches since October 10th and gone 5-5 against high level competition.  They opened the late surge by beating Salida, Florence and Platte Valley and later added wins over Manitou Springs and Air Academy.  Scattered in-between are losses to Valley, Buena Vista, University, Eaton and Thomas Jefferson.
Christa Vogt (189 kills), Jubilee Diamond (175) and Megan Engesser (156) share hitting duties and Jillian Francis (487 assists) is the top setter.  Diamond registered 48 aces and leads a list of five players with at least 20.
Pagosa Springs (11-12) tied with Alamosa for third behind Centauri and Bayfield in the Intermountain conference but the Pirates have been a regular visitor to the state tournament of late.  Faith Ahlhardt leads the Pirates with 270 kills, Morgan Lewis 125 and Taylor Lewis 106.  Morgan Lewis also has 203 assists and shares time at setter with Teagan Stretton with 244.
 

REGION #5 — RESURRECTION CHRISTIAN HIGH SCHOOL

Playing in 3A’s best league and a strong non-conference schedule helped push Resurrection Christian into the top five for regional tournament seeding.  The Cougars ended up fourth in the rugged Patriot and then faced several top clubs in non-league play throughout the season.  Losses are against top ranked Yuma and number two Dayspring Christian from Class 2A and top 3A programs Eaton, Lamar, University and Valley.  Since a frustrating five-set loss to Dayspring Christian, the Cougars have won five straight including four sweeps to win the Manitou Springs tournament last Saturday.
Team leaders include Morgan Watson (237 kills), Kaitlyn Newbanks (171 kills) and Bryce Lienemann (541 assists).  Megan McDaniel has chipped in 240 digs.
Challenging the Cougars in regional tournament play are Peak to Peak (14-9) and Englewood (15-8).
The Pumas placed sixth in the Metro and scored a good win against Machebeuf in league play.  Haley Frederking picked up a season high 26 kills in that win and leads the Pumas with 284 overall.  Calla Winner dished out 36 assists against Machebeuf and tops the club with 491 for the season.
Englewood tied Conifer for third place in the Colorado 7 which is a mixed league of 4A and 3A clubs.  The Pirates have won six of seven and could be playing their best volleyball of the season.  Sophomores Deveyn Hainey (178 kills) and Lilly Johnson (123) are the top two hitters.  Senior Haley Ebert was third with 116.
 

REGION #6 — CENTAURI HIGH SCHOOL

No school in Colorado has had a better fall sports season than Centauri.  The Falcons are the only school in Colorado to be unbeaten in volleyball and football at this point of the campaign.  While the football program has captured league titles and playoff wins in the past, this has been a special run for the Falcons volleyball club.  Included in their perfect 23-0 run are ten conference wins that pushed the Falcons to the Intermountain crown.  They knocked off perennial league power Bayfield twice to win the championship.
Full season stats are not available through MaxPreps but top hitters for the Falcons are Ember Canty, Isabel Prieto and Caroline Van Berkum.  Other contributors include Kaitlyn Quinlan, Alexis Dingfelder and Sheree Rodriguez.
The Falcons have lost 12 sets all season and been pushed to five sets twice in wins over Pagosa Springs and Alamosa.
Platte Valley (11-12) will be a tough out as the Broncos battled nightly inside the rugged Patriot league.  The Broncos also have an early win over 2nd seeded Lutheran (3-2) so they have the talent to take out top clubs.  Faith Fetzer (187 kills) is the first option up front.  She’s joined there by Annika Zent (137) and Claire Smith (133).  Maddie Uyemura tops the Broncos with 509 assists.
St Mary’s (11-11) looks for two upsets to reach the state tournament.  The Pirates tied for fifth with Rye in the Tri Peaks and were 6-5 away from league play.  Seven Pirates have at least 30 kills on the season; a list led by the tandem of Emily Wilcox (127) and Seneca Hackley (120).
 

REGION #7 — COLORADO ACADEMY HIGH SCHOOL

This could easily be the most competitive bracket in the regional tournament as all three teams have enough talent to knock off the other two and all three have played strong schedules.  Colorado Academy (16-7) placed third in the Metro and played several quality teams there.  Sterling (17-6) ended up fifth in the Patriot and faced the likes of Eaton, University, Valley, Resurrection Christian and Platte Valley in league matches.  Alamosa (13-9) lost twice to Centauri and Bayfield in Intermountain action but also split two battles with Pagosa Springs.
The Mustangs won eight of nine down the stretch with the only loss coming against Lutheran (2-0) in the post-season league tournament.  Maria Watters (180) leads in hitting and she’s followed by Kyra Kurtz (150) and Merrill Rollhaus (112).  Gracia O’Donnell enters regional tournament play with 584 assists.
Sterling won the Bennett Tournament on Saturday beating Basalt, Strasburg, Gunnison and Bennett.  The Tigers have won 11 of their last 13 with losses to University and Yuma over that span.  Only one of their losses on the season is against a team that is not hosting a regional event this week (Frontier Academy).  Kyndall Feather (331 kills) is among the top hitters in Class 3A.  She also dropped in 62 aces.
Alamosa is also playing good volleyball.  The Moose went 3-1 at the Coal Ridge Tournament including a win over the host Titans (3-1).  They also beat Battle Mountain and Delta there.  Sylvie Caton is the top hitter with 166 kills and Jordan Mobbley the top setter with 504 assists.
 

REGION #8 — VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL

Outside the RPI Top 12 most of the season, Valley (16-7) zoomed up to 8th in the final standings to earn the right to play at home this weekend.  The Vikings host Delta (15-8) and Denver Science-Stapleton (16-5).
Playing intense matches in the post-season is nothing new to the Vikings.  They’ve reached the state championship match each of the past three years falling to league rival Eaton each time.  The program has also captured state titles in 2012 and 2010.
The Vikings pushed Eaton to five sets on October 19th before falling to the Reds once again.  Following that decision, Valley went 3-1 at the Coal Ridge tournament losing to 4A Palisade in their final match.  Sophomore Delaney Eckhardt has continued the long line of quality hitters within the program.  The sophomore has 341 kills on the season.  She also has a team best 41 blocks.  Halie Diederich has played in each of the last three state finals and enters her final post-season with 583 assists.
Delta was the runner-up to Coal Ridge in the Western Slope chase with their only league loss suffered against the Titans.  The Panthers were also at the Coal Ridge tournament on Saturday and finished 1-3.  Their lone win came against Battle Mountain and they fell short against Palisade, Alamosa and Glenwood Springs.  Lauren Davey (149 kills) and Lexi Quinn (130) are the top two options on the attack.  Abby Carlson has 461 assists.
DSST-Stapleton played just eight matches against teams still alive in the post-season.  The Knights are led in hitting by the trio of Bella Horton (157), Kerstin Panter (147) and Abigail Wiggans (130).
 

REGION #9 — BENNETT HIGH SCHOOL

Despite a sparking 19-4 record, Bennett unfortunately will be used as an example of what’s wrong with the RPI.  The Tigers lost to Middle Park during the Frontier conference schedule and again in the post-season league tournament but they’re hosting this week and Middle Park is on the road.
But we don’t want the RPI to get in the way of what’s been a very good season for the Tigers.  Their only other losses are against Sterling and Machebeuf who are both in the regional tournament.  Bennett otherwise has lost only two sets in racking up 19 victories.
Seniors Olivia Bonstead (317 kills) and Nakita Swingle (216) provide a good duo at the net.  A second quality tandem is found at the setter’s position between Raena Schledwitz (353 assists) and Karissa Alsdorf (301).
Eagle Ridge Academy (20-1) won another Confluence league title and has their highest seed in school history.  Their schedule though is again suspect.  Their lone loss came against Peak to Peak very early in the season and they have just one win against a team that qualified for regionals (Skyview Academy).  Eagle Ridge rolled up 383 aces on the year including 141 from Lexi Cox who also leads the team in kills with 113.
Cedaredge (14-8) may be the tougher out for Bennett.  The Bruins placed fourth in the Western Slope and won their final three matches of the season.  They’re also well rested as this week marks their first game action since October 21st.  Courtney Freeman is the top hitter with 180 kills.
 

REGION #10 — LAMAR HIGH SCHOOL

Much like Bennett, Lamar (20-3) may receive some criticism as they get a chance to host a regional tournament this week while their league champion Buena Vista is playing on the road.  Buena Vista beat Lamar in conference play and that result separated the two in the final league standings.
The Savages though are among the top teams in Class 3A and could have an argument on seeding of their own.  They have a better overall record than Resurrection Christian and beat the Cougars head-to-head but still sit five spots behind the Cougars in the regional bracket.
The Savages are very big up front with both Cali Clark (330 kills) and Maddy Williams (150) taking advantage of their size to finish rallies.  Cassie Forgue is third on the team with 129 kills.  Aliceson Fierro tops the assist sheet with 463.
Lamar faces two quality opponents in regionals.  Frontier Academy (12-11), as mentioned, picked up an early win against Sterling and played strong competition each night within the Patriot.  Prospect Ridge (18-5) just missed a chance to host a regional tournament after finishing fourth in a very good Metro conference.
The Miners have several good options at the net.  First up is Kylie Silva with a team best 166 kills.  She’s followed by Sarah Carvo (157) and Lauryn Parker (116).  Hailey Clark also needs just one more kill to reach 100 for the season.  Three players have at least 100 assists; a trio led by freshman Addie Freedle with 301.
Frontier Academy is coming off a 2-2 trip to the Buena Vista tournament but the quality competition should have them ready to go for regionals.  The Wolverines beat Rye and Roaring Fork but lost to Centauri and Middle Park.  Delainey O’Connel tops the team with 174 kills; Payton Peterson finished with 134 and Abby Laycock 114.
 

REGION #11 — MACHEBEUF HIGH SCHOOL

In what should be the most competitive regional bracket in Class 3A, it could be argued the highest seed does not have the most impressive resume.  Machebeuf (17-6) did beat both Lutheran and Faith Christian inside the Metro but inconsistent play and a loss to Prospect Ridge left them fifth in the final standings.  Meanwhile, Buena Vista (19-3) and Weld Central (18-4) both won conference champions as the Demons went unbeaten through the Tri Peaks and the Rebels through the Colorado 7 without a loss.
Machebeuf however beat Buena Vista (2-0) during the Buffs tournaments in early September getting 11 kills from Madaline Lowry in the win.  She’s the top hitter for the season with 147 kills.  Sonia Casados is next with 140 while Monica Salazar (119) and Adrianna Casados (104) also reached triple figures.  Adrianna also led the team with 607 assists.
Buena Vista improved their win total by six this year and as mentioned grabbed the Tri Peaks championship.  The key victory came against Lamar (3-1) on October 14th.  Brilynd Pence registered 23 kills in the crucial victory and the senior ended the season with a team best 325.  Kassie Schell totaled 169 kills and Rachel Scott 154.  Lindsay Pratt directs the attack and closed the campaign with 622 assists against just 19 errors.
Weld Central carries a seven-match winning streak into the post-season.  And the Rebels lost just two sets in that stretch.  Both were against 4A Fort Morgan as they toppled the Mustangs in what turned out to be the league championship contest.  Alawna Prokop (116 kills), Danielle Specht (106) and Teryn Kidd (103) share hitting duties up front.
 

REGION #12 — COAL RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL

Coal Ridge (20-3) lost two of their last four matches but the step up in competition at their own tournament last Saturday pushed them into the RPI top 12.   As a result, the Titans get the well-deserved chance to host a regional this weekend.  The Titans went 2-2 at their own tournament beating Glenwood Springs and Pagosa Springs while falling to Valley and Alamosa.  Their previous lone loss came against 4A Montrose and the Titans rolled through the Western Slope league schedule without a loss to earn the crown.
Paige Harlow recorded a team high 248 kills to lead the Titans.  Freshman Taylor Wiescamp (187) was a nice addition to the lineup this season and senior Cassie Greene chipped in 128 kills.  The Titans served up 262 aces on the season with Santana Martinez the team leader with 69.  Three others finished with at least 40.  Kenzie Crawford added 621 assists.
Middle Park (20-3) is second league champion in the bracket as the Panthers won the Frontier crown again. Along the way, they topped Bennett twice.  The Panthers lost just two games against 3A opponents falling to Faith Christian (3-2) in the season opener and to Buena Vista (2-1) at the Demons tournament last weekend.  Their third loss came against 4A power D’Evelyn.
Most of the Panthers lineup has state tournament experience from last year.  Kiera Barr (205 kills) and Bailey Martin (196) are both among the best hitters in Class 3A.  Depth at the net comes from Sammy Phillips (116) and Morgan Shaw (101).  Harley Phillips is the top setter (437 assists) but Layne Nieberger (223) also sees time there.
Manitou Springs (13-9) must find a way to beat two league champions to reach the state tournament.  The Mustangs have won four of six down the stretch with losses coming to Colorado Springs Christian (3-1) and Resurrection Christian (2-0).  McKayla Cully tops the Mustangs with 238 kills and Kylie Middleton is next with 131.  Abbie Boren, with 448 assists, directs the offense.
 
 

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