The end of the week features a highly anticipated battle between Eaton and Lewis Palmer on Saturday but the focus of our report this week continues to be on conference races as teams work their way into position for a championship run next month.
The Metro race got a bit more interesting on Monday when Machebeuf took out Faith Christian in four sets.Â The Eagles were the pre-season pick to win the championship but now are one of the four teams with a conference loss one game back of the Buffs and Lutheran.
Machebeuf won the first two sets on the road to take control and eventually win the match in Arvada.Â A key advantage came at the service line where the Buffs finished with 14 aces compared to just five for the Eagles.Â Kelly Staib registered four the aces and added seven kills.Â She was third in that category behind Sonia Casados (9) and Madaline Lowry (8).Â Adrianna Casados also provided a season high 38 assists.
Faith Christian outhit the Buffs in kills 44-40 and was led by Alina Randall with 12 and Bella Keister with 10.
The Buffs stayed perfect in league play with a three-game sweep of Skyview Academy Wednesday night and is quickly back on the court against Peak to Peak on Thursday.Â They then have off until October 4th when they resume the league schedule against Jefferson Academy.
Faith Christian responded to the Monday loss by beating Kent Denver in three on Tuesday.Â They’re off until the 26th when they battle Prospect Ridge.
Lutheran worked five games in their conference opening win over Colorado Academy but has followed up with sweeps of Kent Denver over the weekend and Prospect Ridge on Wednesday.Â Against the Miners, they won each set by at least five points and outhit them 34-24.Â Abby Akers led the Lions with 10 kills and Payton Brgoch chipped in four aces.
With wins on Tuesday night, Lamar and Buena Vista continue to share the Tri Peaks lead with identical 4-0 conference marks.Â Lamar rolled Florence in three sets and will continue league play against Salida on Saturday.Â Buena Vista also went just three games in downing Trinidad.Â They’re back in action Thursday against Rye.
Sitting in second place are four teams; La Junta, Colorado Springs Christian, Manitou Springs and Florence.Â None of those four square off this week so the standings could easily stay the same headed into next week.
Colorado Springs Christian is the only team in the bunch to have a conference game left on the schedule and they’re heavily favored at Atlas Prep on Thursday.Â Then the Lions will get a good test at the Rampart Tournament on Saturday as they sit in the same pool with #6 Chatfield from 5A.
Bayfield and Centauri head to the weekend tied for the top spot in the Intermountain.Â Both the Wolverines and Falcons have 3-0 marks.Â Pagosa Springs, with a loss to Bayfield last week, sits alone in third at 2-1.
The Pirates meet Centauri on Saturday and the winner gets an inside track to a top two league finish.Â Bayfield has dominated the conference for the past decade with Pagosa Springs most often ending up second.Â A win by Centauri on Saturday could make the Falcons the new challenger to the Wolverines.
Centauri though hasn’t beaten Pagosa Springs in their last 17 matches; a streak dating back to October 24th, 2009.Â The Pirates returned to the win column by beating Montezuma Cortez on Tuesday and this weekend will welcome back Morgan Lewis.Â The teams’ second leading hitter, Lewis has been away from the team for a trip to California and has not played in any of the conference matches.
Bennett Coach Larry Deffenbaugh can reach a personal milestone if his Tigers beat Academy on Thursday.Â A victory will be the 500th of his coaching career and since neither team has lost in conference play, it will also be an important win.
Academy is just 2-5 overall and has not won a set in non-league play but they’ve posted conference wins against KIPP Collegiate and Platte Canyon.Â Bennett needs a win to keep pace with Middle Park as the two expect to battle again for the league crown.
Middle Park is also perfect in conference play and joined by Lake County and Clear Creek in the five-way tie for first.Â The Panthers topped Pinnacle in three sets on Tuesday.Â Ranked 9th this week, they host DSST-Stapleton on Thursday and then take part in the D’Evelyn Tournament on Saturday.Â Lake County has league matches with Arrupe Jesuit and Sheridan on Saturday.Â Clear Creek, which beat KIPP for a league win on Tuesday, is off the rest of the week.
It’s still a bit early to get a read on the Western Slope race.Â Aspen has jumped out to a 3-0 start while Cedaredge, Delta and Coal Ridge all sit at 1-0.Â The Skiers look to continue their run at Grand Valley on Saturday.Â Coal Ridge meets Roaring Fork on Thursday and Cedaredge goes to Gunnison Saturday.Â Delta does not have a match scheduled for the rest of the week.
Five teams opened the week sharing the Patriot lead but the list was trimmed to three on Tuesday when Valley and Frontier Academy were knocked off.Â That leaves Eaton, University and Resurrection Christian in first place.
Frontier Academy came up short to University in three sets Tuesday.Â The Bulldogs still feeling good about the come-from-behind win at 2A #1 Yuma over the weekend.Â They trailed in that match two sets to none to before pulling off the tremendous win.Â Aracely Hernandez (18) and Madelyn Malm (17) sparked the comeback with a combined 35 kills.Â Katie Jones and Abby Schaefer each had four aces and Alexsei Vierya rolled out 45 assists.
Valley fell to Platte Valley in three sets.Â Faith Fetzer and Annika Zenk, with ten kills apiece, led the Broncos to the upset.Â Maddie Uyemura added 19 digs, Claire Smith had 14 and McKenzie Johnson 13.
The win kept Platte Valley within one game of the conference leaders but their reward is a Thursday date with four-time defending state champion Eaton.Â Resurrection Christian also looks to stay perfect in league play at home against Liberty Common on Thursday and University is home to Estes Park.
But as mentioned at the top the highlight of the week is the Saturday showdown between Eaton and Lewis Palmer.Â Both teams are ranked number one in their respective class.Â Eaton has won the last four state championships in Class 3A and Lewis Palmer three of the last four in 4A.Â Combined the programs have a total of 14 state crowns.
The Reds of course have already posted a win over defending 5A state champion Fossil Ridge and another win on Saturday gives them bragging rights as arguably the best team in the state regardless of division.
Beating Lewis Palmer though is something the Reds could not do last year as the Rangers took a four-set win in the season opener for both squads.Â Lewis Palmer lost their top two hitters from that win to graduation and three of the four hitters for Eaton were also seniors.Â But each club returns a high level setter as McKenna Sciacca recorded 41 assists for L-P last year and Chelsea Lockey 34 for the Reds.Â Up front, the names to remember are Kessandra Krutsinger and Adelaide Feek for Lewis Palmer and Makenzie Lewis for Eaton.Â Lewis had seven kills against the Rangers last year while Krutsinger (8) and Feek (6) combined for 14.
RPI STANDINGS – PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 1ST
- Resurrection Christian
- Faith Christian
- Coal Ridge
- Colorado Academy
- Frontier Academy
- Prospect Ridge
- Colorado Springs Christian
- Platte Valley
- Middle Park
- Eagle Ridge Academy
- Buena Vista
- Lake County
- St Mary’s Academy
- Peak to Peak
- Weld Central
- St Mary’s
- La Junta