It could turn out to be the Tri Peaks league championship match on Thursday when #6 Manitou Springs hosts #7 Colorado Springs Christian.  Both teams enter the week 5-0 in conference play and each has at least a two-game edge on all conference clubs so the winner is in good shape to land the title.  The match is one of several with a direct impact on league leads this week.
Both the Lions and Mustangs have won their last seven games and both have been dominant to this point in conference play.  Colorado Springs Christian has not dropped a set including an impressive 3-0 win over La Junta last week.  Manitou Springs dropped one set to St Mary’s but the Mustangs have swept their remaining four conference contests.
Against La Junta, CSCS outhit the Tigers 46-28 and received a match best 14 kills from Abby Miller.  Christa Vogt and Jubilee Diamond each finished with nine.  Diamond tied Avery Stein with 20 diggs to pace the Lions while Kiersten Brock ended up with 46 assists.
Manitou Springs blew past Florence (25-17, 25-7, 25-18) in their last league outing.  Abbie Boren directed the attack and finished with 33 assists.  A good share of them went to Giulia Vidossi (12) and McKayla Cully (8) who combined for 20 kills.  The Mustangs served up 11 aces including four from Kylie Middleton and three from Cully.
Both clubs have a league date on Tuesday and both are expected to stay perfect within the conference.  Manitou Springs entertains Trinidad and CSCS is home to James Irwin.  The Lions also get a weekend tournament at Rampart on Saturday.
Four teams made it through the first week of Metro league play without a loss but some sorting out will begin this week.  Top ranked Lutheran and #8 Faith Christian are both 3-0 and tied with Peak to Peak and Prospect Ridge (both 2-0) for the conference lead.  The Lions are involved in two head-to-head meetings with other leaders as they host Prospect Ridge Tuesday night and then visit Peak to Peak on Thursday.  Faith Christian also plays Peak to Peak on Tuesday so the standings will change quite a bit by the weekend.
It will be difficult for Peak to Peak and Prospect Ridge to score wins this week and keep pace.  Both have losing records overall and picked up wins against lower division league rivals last week.  Peak to Peak (3-5 overall) downed Stargate and St Mary’s Academy in three sets apiece.  Prospect Ridge (4-5) topped Skyview Academy and St Mary’s Academy in straight sets as well.
Juniors Isabelle Pollock and Paige McSavaney pace the Pumas with 45 kills apiece.  The Miners are led at the net by Gabi Maiocco with 53 kills.  Lauryn Parker has 52 and Destiny Castro 49.
Conversely, Lutheran and Faith Christian were the pre-season choices to finish 1-2 in league play and their regular season closing match could eventually determine those two positions.  Payton Brgoch led the Lions in kills in all three wins last week as she registered 13 vs Machebeuf, 12 vs Colorado Academy and a weekly best 15 vs Jefferson Academy.  Abby Akers combined for 18 in the final two matches.  Kennedey Johnson had 58 assists in the three matches and led the team in the last two.  Lexi Wilmoth topped the club with 17 against Machebeuf.
Faith Chrsitian lost to Lutheran (2-0) in the finals of the Jefferson Academy tournament earlier this month and followed with losses to state powers Eaton and Platte Valley.  They snapped the three-game skid by getting past Colorado Academy and Kent Denver last week.  Makenna Hachen had 11 kills and Sophia Keister and Ryanne Ferro each nine against CA.  Ferro had 12 kills, Keister eight and Emilie Eggers seven against Kent Denver.  Allure Padilla combined for 43 assists.
Two key matches can be found in the Patriot league and both involve league leaders.  Entering the week, #2 University, #3 Eaton, #4 Platte Valley, #10 Valley and Sterling all sit unbeaten.  Sterling is challenged by Resurrection Christian on Tuesday and University heads to Valley on Thursday.
The Sterling-Resurrection Christian match is a contrast of youth vs experience.  The Tigers are extremely young as two freshmen are their top hitters.  Sydney Henry leads the club with 90 kills and Kaylee Johnson has 61.  Sophomore Allie Schumacher is tops in assists with 162.  Junior Jade Feather is the defensive leader with 152 diggs.
Resurrection Christian’s leading hitter and ball-handler are both seniors.  Kaitlyn Newbanks has 109 kills and is coming off 14 in a loss to Platte Valley.  Bryce Lieneman has 194 assists including 28 in league play.
The match is crucial for both teams as a win sets them up for a nice conference run.  If Sterling finishes on top, there’s a good chance they could 6-0 in the Patriot heading into a showdown with University on October 11th.  Resurrection Christian could start a run of five straight wins and get to 5-2 in the conference before they face University on October 16th.
University rolled past Brush and Liberty Common last week; stretching their winning streak to four since a five-set loss to Lutheran.  Both league wins came in dominant fashion as the Bulldogs allowed just 33 points to Brush and 40 to Liberty Common.  Abby Schafer and Madelyn Malm led the way with nine kills apiece against Brush.  Malm added 21 diggs defensively.  Schafer had 15 kills against Liberty Common and the Bulldogs dialed up 12 aces including four from Alexsei Vierya.  Vierya recorded 32 assists in each win.
Valley has won four in a row and the streak has gotten the Vikings back into the Top 10 this week.  Their league wins are against Strasburg and Brush (both 3-0).  The Vikings surrendered just 23 points to Strasburg and picked up eight kills from Delaney Eckhardt.  They out hit the Indians 29-7.  The Brush was tighter as Valley scored a 25-17, 25-19 and 25-12 decision.  Eckhardt again led the way with 10 kills and Savanna Rutheford added eight.
Six teams are within one game of the Western Slope lead.  Aspen (3-0), Coal Ridge (4-0) and #9 Cedaredge (4-0) share first place with Delta, Grand Valley and Gunnison all sitting one game back.  Delta has the best overall record so their match with Aspen on Thursday seems to be the most significant of the week.
Delta is just one set away from being unbeaten in league play.  They fell to Cedaredge 3-2 last week and actually led that match two sets to one before coming up short.  Sara Geddes, with 10 kills, led the Delta offense but the Panthers were out-hit 50-29 in the loss.  Geddes also chipped in 29 assists.  Haylin McCulloch had 32 diggs and a team best 35 diggs.
Aspen is unbeaten in Colorado with both losses coming against out-of-state opponents in tournament play last week.  Their date with Delta on Tuesday is their first league meeting since September 15th where they topped Olathe.  Other league wins are against Roaring Fork and Basalt.  Mary Williams totaled 36 kills in the three league wins and Jasmin Hanson added 18.  Gaia Murphy compiled 62 assists over those three matches.
Another matchup of note in the conference is Tuesday when Cedaredge is home to Gunnison.  The Bruins also meet Basalt on Thursday.  Aspen also competes at the Battle Mountain Tournament on Saturday and Coal Ridge does not have any matches on the schedule this week according to MaxPreps.
#5 Alamosa is in complete control of the Intermountain chase.  The Moose (6-0) have a two game edge on Centauri, Pagosa Springs and Bayfield plus they’ve beaten all three teams in the first of two meetings.  The Moose are at the Battle Mountain tournament this Friday and Saturday.
Middle Park (3-0) is tied with KIPP Collegiate (4-0) for the Frontier league lead.  The Panthers and Bennett (1-1) remain favored to land spots one and two.  Middle Park hosts Jefferson on Tuesday and then visits Pinnacle on Thursday.  Bennett beat Academy on Monday (3-0) and has dates with Lake County (Tuesday) and Strasburg (Friday).
Only two matches have been played inside the Confluence where Eagle Ridge Academy remains the favorite.  They are tied with DSST-Green Valley (8-2) for the best overall record and collide on October 3rd.