Since most of the conference races in Class 4A Volleyball wind down this week, our attention is centered there and the RPI standings. Our report looks at each conference race and what teams need to do to land a championship and we also look at the RPI standings to determine which teams might host regionals in early November.
With matches almost every day of the regular season, RPI standings change on a regular basis. For our weekly update, we use numbers posted on the morning of October 17th.
At the start of the season, Lewis Palmer was the easy choice to capture the league championship and the top ranked Rangers are one win away from doing so. Unbeaten at 5-0 in the conference, L-P leads Discovery Canyon and Palmer Ridge (both 4-1) by one game and has already beaten both challengers. Look for the Rangers to clinch the championship on Tuesday against Sand Creek and then they will focus on their annual matchup with Cheyenne Mountain. The Indians (3-2) are fourth in league play and it’s unusual not to have their date with Lewis Palmer decide the top two spots.
Discovery Canyon and Palmer Ridge collide on Tuesday and that contest will determine second and third. Both teams have a win over Cheyenne Mountain so even if the Indians upset Lewis Palmer, they cannot climb higher than fourth.
Ranked first and fifth respectively, Lewis Palmer and Palmer Ridge will host regional tournaments. A club must finish in the top 12 at seasons end to earn that honor and advantage. At least three other league teams should get into the post-season as Discovery Canyon (15th), Cheyenne Mountain (25th) and Air Academy (26th) are solid in the top 36.
Weld Central will drop into the 3A for post-season play but likely clinched the league championship by outlasting Fort Morgan in five sets last week. The win kept the Rebels unbeaten in league play and the Mustangs suffered their first league loss. Weld Central has three more league matches remaining but will be heavily favored in all three. They meet Arvada (Tuesday) and Alameda (Thursday) this week and Skyview next week.
Fort Morgan returns to the action against Fort Lupton on Tuesday. It’s their only match of the week. They have three league dates in the final week against Alameda, Skyview and Arvada. Like Weld Central, the Mustangs should win all three without issue.
Fort Morgan (17th) was in contention to host a regional tournament a couple of weeks ago but their league schedule has pushed them farther down the RPI standings. They’re only the 4A team in the conference in top 60 of RPI as Skyview is next at #61.
Weld Central is 28th in the Class 3A RPI but will make the bracket.
COLORADO SPRINGS METRO
Canon City (5-0) and Classical Academy (4-0) share the conference and they meet on Thursday in what could be the conference championship match. Neither team though can focus completely on that match as each faces a third-place team two nights earlier. The Tigers host Elizabeth and the Titans go to Mesa Ridge. The Cardinals and Grizzlies each have one league loss so there’s a chance of a four-way tie for first going into Thursday. All four teams have an additional league match next week.
Widefield is not in the top four of the league chase but the Gladiators are the highest ranked team in the RPI standings. They’re 29th in the standings we’re using for this report. Classical Academy and Canon City are 31st and 32nd and both climbed a few spots this week. Elizabeth and Mesa Ridge are 45th and 47th so their matches on Tuesday could be elimination contests as they may need to win a league title to reach the playoffs.
Valor Christian clinched the league title by beating D’Evelyn last week. The Jaguars will end up second and Evergreen has locked up third place. Final league matches for all three are Tuesday. The Eagles visit Standley Lake, the Jags host Littleton and the Cougars head over to Golden. The league tournament then starts on Thursday.
Sitting third and fourth in RPI, Valor Christian and D’Evelyn are virtual locks to host regional tournaments. Evergreen could be a third league team at home for the first week of post-season play as they’re 10th this week. Then there’s a wide gap to the next conference member is Golden at #40. The Demons are two spots ahead of Wheat Ridge and three over Green Mountain but all three could be left out of the playoff bracket.
Despite last week’s loss to Longmont, Niwot (11-1) remains alone in first place by one game over the Trojans. Niwot has two league matches remaining this week and must win both to secure the outright championship. Up first is a trip to Greeley Central on Tuesday and then a home match with Centaurus. Niwot won the first meetings in three sets apiece.
Longmont can clinch second place by beating either Thompson Valley on Tuesday or Silver Creek on Thursday. The Trojans are two games up on Thompson Valley in the race for third but lost to the Eagles in the first meeting. Thompson Valley needs two wins to stay ahead of Mountain View for third place. They’re separated by one game and split two league meetings this year. After facing Longmont, Thompson Valley tangles with Greeley Central. Mountain Vista faces Silver Creek and Northridge.
Niwot is second in RPI points and will be at home in the regional tournament. Staying in the number two spot is important for the Cougars as they will be opposite Lewis Palmer in the state tournament if both teams get there as expected. In that scenario, the only match where Niwot would face the defending state champions is in the state finals.
Longmont (8th) is also in position to host a regional tournament and Mountain View (14th) is within range. Thompson Valley (20th), Greeley Central (30th) and Silver Creek (34th) could also qualify for regionals as could Northridge (39th).
No surprise that Pueblo West is winning the championship again as the Cyclones recently won their 75th consecutive conference match. They moved to 9-0 by beating Pueblo Centennial on Monday night and will finish the league schedule at Pueblo South on Thursday.
With Centennial’s loss, Pueblo County wrapped up second place as they’re now two games up on Centennial with two wins over their league rival. The Hornets meet Pueblo Central on Tuesday and Pueblo East on Thursday.
Both league leaders could end up at home for the regional round. Pueblo West is 7th in RPI and Pueblo County is very strong at #12. The Hornets will watch closely results from Evergreen, Thomas Jefferson, Durango and Mountain View through seasons’ end. The Cougars and Spartans hold down the two spots ahead of them and the Demons and Mountain Lions the two positions directly behind them.
It’s possible West and County will be the only two league teams in the playoffs. Pueblo Centennial is only 44th in RPI.
The only question remaining is whether Holy Family will win the championship outright or if the Tigers will share it with Windsor. The rivals collide for a second time on Thursday and that match will determine the order of the top two. Holy Family won the first meeting and stand alone atop the standings (11-0) with Windsor (10-1) just one game back.
Every other club has at least five league losses so it’s a simple two-team race. Holy Family also visits Skyline on Tuesday and Windsor is home to Mead before clashing in the league finale two nights later.
Roosevelt and Berthoud (both 6-5) currently share third place. They play on Tuesday.
Both Holy Family (5th) and Windsor (9th) are in the RPI top 10 so both are in position to be at home for regional tournaments. Roosevelt is 16th and still fighting to host a regional event. Erie (21st) will also be in the playoffs while Berthoud (35th) and Frederick (37th) are clearly on the bubble.
With Eagle Valley losing to both Palisade and Glenwood Springs last week, the race remains crowded at the top. All three teams share first place with two losses apiece but the standings will change on Thursday when Glenwood Springs and Palisade tangle for a second time. That winner likely ends up sharing the top trophy with Eagle Valley as the Devils split the season series with each.
All three clubs have additional league matches as the schedule concludes this week. Eagle Valley goes to Battle Mountain and Rifle Thursday and Saturday. Palisade entertains Battle Mountain Tuesday evening and Glenwood Springs wraps it up at Steamboat Springs on Saturday. That match becomes important for third if the Demons fall to Palisade. Steamboat trails Glenwood by two games.
It’s also likely that every league team that qualifies for the regional round plays on the road that week. Glenwood Springs (19th) is the highest ranked conference club with Eagle Valley 23rd and Palisade 24th. Battle Mountain is 28th and a likely gets a post-season invite. Steamboat Springs (36th) and Summit (41st) are still battling for a berth.
TEAMS PLAYING IN 5A CONFERENCES
Thomas Jefferson is 11th in the RPI numbers and still battling to host a regional tournament. The Spartans swept Denver South in their first City League cross-over match on Monday night and now faces Denver East Wednesday night for the overall championship. George Washington finished second to Thomas Jefferson in the DPL 4A division but the Patriots are only 38th in RPI and will be one of the last teams in or one of the first teams out of the playoffs.
Durango is 13th in RPI and with a match remaining against 5A power Fruita Monument, the Demons could still work their way into the top 12 to play at home in regionals. With their location, it would be a huge advantage for the Demons in their quest for a state tournament bid. The match with Fruita is also important to the Southwestern League chase. They lost to the Wildcats last week but a win in the rematch could give the Demons a share of the crown.
Montrose is a second 4A team from the Southwestern League that will be in the playoff bracket. The Indians are 18th in RPI this week.
Ponderosa is well down the Continental league standings but that difficult schedule puts them in great shape for a 4A playoff berth. The Mustangs are 22nd at this point.
Vista Peak is still battling the likes of Rangeview and Brighton for the 5A East Metro title. A loss to Brighton last week hurt their chances but an upset of Rangeview Thursday gets them back into a first-place tie. The Bison are 27th in RPI and should land a 4A regional berth.
Mullen is much like Ponderosa. They’re also below five hundred for the season but a rugged schedule inside the 5A Centennial might be enough to earn a post-season nod. The Mustangs are 33rd in RPI and battling for one of the last available slots.