With two exceptions league championships in Class 4A volleyball have been determined. The only races left undecided are the Colorado Springs Metro and Western Slope races. Winners of those titles won’t be known until Thursday night when league play concludes.
The most intriguing race is found in the Colorado Springs Metro where Canon City (6-1), Elizabeth (5-1) and Classical Academy (5-1) all share the top spot. One match involving the three is left and it’s set for Tuesday between Canon City and Elizabeth on the Cards home court.
Elizabeth has already beaten Classical Academy so the Cardinals control their league championship hopes. If the Cards beat Canon City on Tuesday and Sierra two nights later, they win the crown regardless of what else happens. Canon City cannot win the championship by beating Elizabeth unless Classical Academy also loses one of their two remaining conference games. The Titans line up with Mesa Ridge Tuesday and Harrison Thursday. Classical Academy has the tiebreaker over Canon City since they beat the Tigers earlier this season.
Overall the league does not get much respect from the RPI standings. As of Monday night, fourth-place Widefield is the highest ranked league team at #28. Classical Academy is 31st and Canon City 33rd. Elizabeth is only 39th so the Cards may need to win the league title just to make the 36-team regional tournament bracket.
Out west, Glenwood Springs (10-2) is assured of least a piece of first place as the Demons have concluded their conference schedule. Eagle Valley needs to win at Steamboat Springs on Thursday to also earn a share. The Devils are 9-2 in league play and they’ve split two matches with Glenwood Springs this season. Palisade is a game back in third (9-3) but the Bulldogs are also finished with league activity and cannot move up or down.
All three teams are involved in tournament play later this week. Glenwood Springs and Palisade take part in the Coal Ridge event while Eagle Valley heads to Evergreen. Glenwood also has a non-league date at Grand Junction on Tuesday night.
A strong enough showing this week could get the Demons into consideration for hosting a regional tournament. The Demons are 14th in RPI and need to get inside the top 12 to play at home next week. Teams immediately in front of the Demons are Thomas Jefferson, Durango and Montrose. They trail Durango for the 12th spot by .008 points.
Palisade is 20th and Eagle Valley 24th so both teams will be headed to the post-season next week. The Devils may want to get out of the 24th spot as that team likely is paired with Lewis Palmer in regional bracketing. The Rangers are the top ranked team in the 4A standings.
Battle Mountain (29th) should be safely in the bracket while Steamboat Springs (35th) is on the bubble.
Valor Christian, D’Evelyn and Evergreen finished 1-2-3 in the Jeffco race this year and those teams will collide in their league tournament this week. The Eagles are also 3rd in the RPI with the Jags 4th and Evergreen 8th so all should host regional events next week. Valor Christian hosts Evergreen on Tuesday and then D’Evelyn on Thursday. Both D’Evelyn and Evergreen also meet Green Mountain during the week.
Each of the three clubs will be involved in tournament play as well. Evergreen hosts an event on Saturday and D’Evelyn is involved in the Dakota Ridge Tournament. Valor Christian meantime heads south to challenge for the title at the rugged Cheyenne Mountain event.
Silver Creek (36th), Green Mountain (37th) and Golden (40th) are three other league members that could get post-season invitations but all three have work to do this week.
Niwot (Northern) and Holy Family (Tri Valley) both clinched conference championships last week and the two 4A state title contenders met in a very important non-league match Monday night. The result will be valuable to RPI points and possible post-season seeding. Niwot entered the match second in RPI and Holy Family was sixth. The match turned into a great win for Holy Family. The Tigers dropped the first two sets, then rallied for the five-set victory including a 17-15 decision in game five.
The Cougars won the Northern crown by one game over Longmont and split two games with the Trojans. Longmont is 7th in RPI and could improve that position by playing in the Cheyenne Mountain tournament Friday and Saturday.
Mountain View (15th) and Thompson Valley (17th) are also safely in the bracket. Greeley Central (32nd) and Silver Creek (36th) could also join them.
Holy Family swept Windsor in conference play and those results pushed the Tigers to the Tri Valley crown. They finish the league slate at Mead on Tuesday and a win there gives them a perfect 14-0 conference mark. Windsor (11-2) has clinched second and closes with Berthoud on the road before venturing to Cheyenne Mountain this week. Berthoud (8-5) needs an upset of the Wizards to keep third to themselves as a loss means they could share the spot with Erie (7-6) and Roosevelt (7-6) provided those two clubs win their conference finales as well.
Windsor is 10th in RPI and could be at home for regional play. Erie (19th), Roosevelt (25th) and Berthoud (30th) should be included in the 36-team regional bracket. Frederick is 41st and likely out of the playoff picture.
Pueblo West ended the season with another 10-0 mark to again win the South Central crown. The Cyclones have won 76 consecutive league matches with their last loss coming in October 2010. Sitting 9th in the RPI, they appear to be a lock to host a regional tournament.
Second-place Pueblo County is 18th in RPI and will be the only other league team to get a playoff bid.
Weld Central drops into the 3A bracket for the post-season and despite winning the 4A Colorado 7 crown, the Rebels are only 28th in RPI in Class 3A. Fort Morgan is 16th in 4A RPI and is safely in the bracket and staying there puts them in the same regional bracket with Pueblo West.
No other conference member will be included in the 36-team regional tournament. Summit is the next highest ranked league team in 44th with Conifer next at 46th.
Lewis Palmer is again the Pikes Peak champion and the Rangers appear safe as the number one overall seed. The Rangers lead #2 Niwot by .048 points and playing in the Cheyenne Mountain Tournament will only boost their opponents winning percentage. The Rangers will be favored to land that championship and then set their sights on a third-consecutive state championship.
Palmer Ridge finished second to Lewis Palmer in the Pikes Peak and will finish the season at home hosting their own tournament on Saturday. The Bears are 5th in RPI and will be at home for the first time in school history for a regional tournament.
Cheyenne Mountain, Discovery Canyon and Air Academy shared third place in the conference and all three will be in the regional tournament. They are right together in the RPI standings with Discovery Canyon 21st, Cheyenne Mountain 22nd and Air Academy 23rd.
Coming in from Class 5A and likely into the 4A post-season are Thomas Jefferson (Denver Prep), Ponderosa (Continental), Mullen (Centennial) and Vista Peak (East Metro). The only one of the three on the bubble is Mullen as the Mustangs are 34th in RPI this week. Ponderosa (26th) and Vista Peak (27th) are much higher on the list. Thomas Jefferson, which lost to Denver East in the crossover league championship match, is 11th in RPI and is in the running to host a regional.
As mentioned throughout our reports, many of the top clubs in 4A are involved in tournament play this coming weekend. We’ll post the schedules and pairings later in the week once most of the conference action winds down.
NOTES: Please note the RPI standings used for this report originate from the numbers posted by CHSAA before matches opened on Monday night. The standings change daily as reports from each night are turned in. The top 36 clubs from the RPI standings posted on Sunday evening or early Monday qualify for the regional tournament. Those same standings are used to place teams in the bracket.