It’s an important week for conference races across the 3A volleyball landscape.  Five matchups featuring league unbeatens were on the schedule this week.  Two were held on Tuesday, a third is set for Wednesday and the remainders take place on Thursday and Saturday.
We begin in the Intermountain League where Bayfield and Centauri are both 4-0 against league opponents.  Their first place tie will be broken Saturday when they collide in La Jara.  Bayfield has dominated the league for the past decade and based on strength of schedule will be favored in the first of two meetings with the Falcons.
The Wolverines have plenty of momentum going in following a thrilling five-set win over 4A Durango on Tuesday night.  They lost the first two sets but stormed back to take the match by winning the final three games.  Kylee McCoy led the winners with 14 kills; Mavis Edwards had 12 and Sydney Gabbard 10.  Overall, the Wolverines recorded 11 blocks including three apiece from McCoy and Ashely Mottin.  Courtney Bayles picked up all 44 assists as the Wolverines improved to 8-3 overall.
The record includes an unbeaten mark against 3A rivals.  Bayfield’s losses have been suffered against 4A powers Pueblo West and Niwot along with a top out of state club in Piedra Vista NM.
Centauri meantime has not faced a 4A club this year and has played just four 3A clubs.  They’ve beaten Alamosa twice, Montezuma Cortez, Monte Vista and Pagosa Springs.  The win over the Pirates last week set up the first place showdown on Saturday.  Centauri dropped the opening set to Pagosa but took the final three 25-23, 25-23 and 25-18.
Coach Candace Shaw and the Falcons cannot fully focus on Saturday just yet as they also face a strong Sargent club on Thursday.  The Farmers lead the 2A Southern Peaks league and will be a tough out, especially if the Falcons are looking past the contest.
Full stats have not been posted to MaxPreps but senior Ember Canty is the top hitter for the Falcons.  Caroline Van Berkum and Isabel Prieto provide plenty of support.
Coal Ridge and Aspen both picked up conference wins Tuesday to remain perfect in the Western Slope.  They meet up Thursday in New Castle.
The Titans moved to 3-0 in league play and 6-0 overall by sweeping Cedaredge.  The Bruins entered the match with a share of first place but drops into a fourth place tie with Olathe following the loss.  According to the Glenwood Post Independent, Paige Harlow led Coal Ridge with 13 kills on Tuesday.  Taylor Wiescamp was next with seven.  Kenzie Crawford added 30 assists and three aces.
Aspen slammed Roaring Fork in three sets for their fourth conference win and allowed just 37 overall points.   Delta is also unbeaten in league action but the Panthers have played just one match; beating Gunnison in three on September 14th.  They return to league play at Olathe on Thursday and then face both Coal Ridge and Aspen on the road next week.
Another first place showdown can be found in the Frontier Wednesday night as Bennett heads to Clear Creek.  The Tigers and Golddiggers are a combined 7-0 and share the conference lead with Middle Park (3-0) and Lake County (5-0).  Middle Park is favored to land the league title again but the winner of Wednesday’s match steps forward as the top challenger.
Both team have won their last eight matches.  Bennett hasn’t suffered a loss since falling to Machebeuf and Clear Creek is unbeaten since starting the season with losses to Meeker and Lyons.
The Tigers see action for the first time in a week.  The last time out they swept Academy for Coach Larry Deffenbaugh’s 500th career victory.  Olivia Bonstead had 17 kills and Chloe Church 11 as the Tigers outhit the Wildcats 42-14.
Clear Creek has league wins over Arrupe Jesuit, KIPP Collegiate and Pinnacle.  Rachel Lucas leads the offense with 85 kills; Lillie Abrahamson has 59 and Jac Harvey 45.  Daphne Taylor tops the Golddiggers with 226 assists.
Middle Park has just one league match this week as they visit Academy on Thursday.  The Panthers face Clear Creek next week.  Middle Park dropped their second match of the season in a three set loss to 4A ranked D’Evelyn at the Jags tournament Saturday.  The loss hurts their record but the high competition will only help the Panthers down the road.
Resurrection Christian lost a share of the Patriot lead with a 3-0 loss to University on Tuesday.  For University, the impressive win was their ninth in a row and keeps the Bulldogs tied with top ranked Eaton atop the standings.   Resurrection Christian slid back into a third place tie with Frontier Academy and Valley.
Madelyn Malm and Aracely Hernandez again paced the Bulldogs in hitting.  Malm finished with 15 kills and Hernandez with nine.  The duo has combined for 268 kills on the season and is separated by just four kills individually.
Abby Schaefer chipped in 22 diggs and Alexsei Vierya had 30 assists.
Both clubs have a quick turnaround to important matches on Thursday.  The Bulldogs face long-time rival Valley and Resurrection Christian meets Frontier Academy.  As mentioned, all four teams are within one game of the conference lead.
Eaton kept rolling by sweeping Brush on Tuesday and will return home to host Liberty Common on Thursday.  The Reds, for the second straight week, also have an interesting non-league match on Saturday.  Last week they lost on the road to 4A #1 Lewis Palmer and this week they meet Colorado Springs Christian.
The Reds and Lions have dominated Class 3A volleyball combining for 11 of the last 13 titles in the division.  CSCS holds the state record with six consecutive state championships; winning each year from 2004-09.  Eaton has won the last four crowns and has that state record within sight.
Colorado Springs Christian is also in the middle of the Tri Peaks chase sitting in a third place tie with Manitou Springs and Florence.  All three teams are looking up at Lamar (5-0) and Buena Vista (6-0).  The Lions topped St Mary’s on Tuesday and face league rival Vanguard on Thursday.
Buena Vista played and won their only league match of the week sweeping James Irwin on Tuesday.  Brilynd Pence finished with 16 kills and has now 77 in her last four matches.  Pence leads the team with 165 for the season as well.
Lamar goes to La Junta on Thursday and needs a win over their arch-rivals to keep a share of the lead.  The Savages also take part in the Fowler Tournament on Saturday.
The most important Tri Peaks match this week is Wednesday night between Florence and Manitou Springs.  The loser will fall two games out of first place and will be hard pressed to remain in the league title discussion.  Each already has a loss to one of the league leaders.
Tight matches continue to dominate the Metro conference schedule.  The latest was a five-set marathon between Faith Christian and Prospect Ridge on Tuesday night.  The Eagles prevailed to remain tied for second place with Colorado Academy, Machebeuf and St Mary’s Academy behind Lutheran (4-0).
Bella Keister (19) and Sophia Keister (13) combined for 32 kills in the win.  Allure Padilla registered five aces and was third on the team with 27 digs; trailing Bella Keister (34) and Taynin Abbot (30) in that category.  Sarah Carvo, with 10 kills and Chloe Brown, with 35 digs, led Prospect Ridge.
There’s little time to celebrate for Faith Christian as they lineup against Colorado Academy on Thursday.  CA pushed league leading Lutheran to five sets last week and has picked up sweeps of Peak to Peak and Jefferson Academy since.  Maria Watters (93), Kyra Kurtz (75) and Merrill Rollhaus (72) are the Mustangs top three hitters.
Lutheran has won 11 straight including a sweep of Jefferson Academy on Tuesday.  They host Skyview Academy Thursday and won’t face either Faith Christian or Machebeuf until the final week of conference action.  Machebeuf lost a share of first with their loss to Peak to Peak last week.  The Buffs are off this week and return to the court next week against Jefferson Academy and Kent Denver.
One conference match has been played in the Confluence.  DSST-College View beat DSST-Green Valley.  Overall the league has a combined non-league record of 9-24 with six of the victories belonging to defending champion Eagle Ridge Academy.