Two critical matchups that will help determine league championships, regional tournaments and possible top seeds in the state tournament top the 4A volleyball schedule for the week. Both matches are set for Thursday as Lewis Palmer meets Discovery Canyon in the Pikes Peak and Holy Family battles Windsor as part of the Tri Valley schedule.
We start in the Pikes Peak as Lewis Palmer enters the week ranked number one this week and Discovery Canyon is number two. More importantly, the Rangers and Thunder are also 1-2 in the RPI standings so its very possible that the number one overall playoff seed goes to the winner of this match.
Lewis Palmer of course will be favored. The Rangers are the two-time defending state champions and they’ve never dropped a match to Discovery Canyon. Overall, the Rangers have just one league loss since the start of the 2012 season.
Discovery Canyon though took a major step forward last year in earning their first-ever state tournament bid. Despite that effort, the Thunder won just 15 matches last season but have already claimed 14 marks in the win column this season. They need just five more wins to set a new school record to surpass the 18 victories in 2015.
The match a year ago went to Lewis Palmer in four sets. Taylor Buckley paced the Rangers with 12 kills and Riley Putnicki had eight. McKenna Sciacca handed out 30 assists. The Thunder were led at the net by Ashten Prechtel with 10 kills and Leah Lester seven. Hannah Pethtel had 28 assists. All six players mentioned return for the rematch this Thursday.
Other players to watch for Lewis Palmer this year are Trinity Jackson (team best 120 kills), Kessandra Krutsinger (80) and Gianna Bartalo (188 diggs). For Discovery Canyon, Paityn Kramer tops the team with 111 kills and Katie Sproul has added 182 assists.
Regardless of the result, we don’t expect either team to lose much ground in the RPI chase. League standings will be altered as the winner most likely will stand alone atop the standings. Both teams have Tuesday league matches but both will be favored as Lewis Palmer meets Sand Creek and Discovery Canyon takes on Vista Ridge.
Another key match inside the Pikes Peak is Tuesday between Palmer Ridge and Air Academy. They share third place with 2-1 league records. Palmer Ridge is 9th in RPI and still battling to host a regional tournament. Air Academy is 19th in those standings with Cheyenne Mountain one spot back at #20.
Before we can the Holy Family-Windsor clash on Thursday the winner-take-all for the Tri Valley title, both teams must score quality wins on Tuesday. The Tigers host Mead and the Wizards go to Frederick. The Mavericks and Warriors are both 4-1 in league play and wins by those two create a four-way tie for the lead. If Windsor and Holy Family both collect wins, then their Thursday match should determine first and second place.
Both teams are ranked 6th in their respective RPI standings. Windsor moves up to the 5A division for the post-season and is in position to host a regional tournament there.
Windsor has won six in a row since a 2-0 loss to Lewis Palmer in the Rangers Invitational. They’ve dropped just two sets in beating Mead, Berthoud, Erie, Skyline and Fort Morgan. In last week’s win over Fort Morgan, Riley Grieman finished with a season best 18 kills. Ally Kennis had 11 and Ellie Garrett 10. Garrett provided four aces and was one of five players to reach double figures in kills. She also recorded 37 of the Wizards’ 38 assists.
Holy Family is perfect through league play including a quality three-game sweep of Frederick last week. Ali Travis finished with 22 kills putting her just seven shy of 12-hundred for her career. Anna Hodell added 11 kills and Ryleigh Lynch had 10. Peyton Frank led the defense with 28 diggs and Carly Trostel totaled 43 assists.
Of course, the biggest news in Class 4A last week involved Pueblo County’s win over Pueblo West. The Cyclones entered the match with 80 consecutive league victories but the Hornets ended the streak with an impressive three-game sweep. Samantha Meehan led the Hornets with 11 kills and Kinley Gomez added eight. Gomez also had a team high 10 diggs.
The win left Pueblo County one game up on the Cyclones in the South-Central chase. The rematch is October 18th at Pueblo West.
Despite each team playing seven or eight conference matches, its still too early to determine a favorite for the Western Slope champion. Three teams share the lead with Palisade, Steamboat Springs and Eagle Valley all have two losses. Battle Mountain (5-3) is a game back in fourth.
This week, Palisade goes to Steamboat Springs on Friday and the night before Battle Mountain visits Eagle Valley. Eagle Valley also goes to Glenwood Springs on Tuesday and if the Devils win both matches this week, they will remain tied for the league lead with the Steamboat-Palisade winner.
Steamboat Springs downed Palisade 3-1 in their first meeting. Anna Allsbery powered down 24 kills and Avery Harrington 10. Katelyn Kline, with 16 diggs, topped the defensive charts and Abi Berlet handed out 34 assists. Battle Mountain topped Eagle Valley 3-2 in their first match. The Huskies had just 29 kills compared to 44 for the Devils but still managed to get the victory.
Englewood beat Weld Central last week to earn a season split with the Rebels and now the two teams enter the final stretch sharing the Colorado 7 league lead. Conifer sits third at 5-2. This week, the Lobos can cause some chaos as they play both Englewood (Tuesday) and Weld Central (Thursday).
Last week’s win keeps Englewood in contention to host a regional tournament, but in the 3A division where the Pirates head for the post-season. The Pirates are 9th in RPI standings and need to stay in the top 12 to play at home in the regional tournament. Weld Central is 17th in Class 4A RPI with Conifer 27th.
Classical Academy and Woodland Park face on Thursday night and that result will help slim the list of contenders in the Colorado Springs Metro. The Titans begin the week 2-0 in conference play with Woodland Park at 3-0. Both are tied with Mesa Ridge (2-0). Each club has a league date on Tuesday but both are expected to grab wins as TCA hosts Mitchell and Woodland Park goes to Sierra. Mesa Ridge has just one match at home against Elizabeth on Thursday.
Woodland Park (18th) is the highest rated conference team in the RPI. Classical Academy is 23rd with Canon City (33rd) also in contention for a regional tournament bid. Mesa Ridge is 51st and needs to win the league title to earn a bid.
Longmont is 4th and Niwot 5th in RPI this week and they also sit 1-2 atop the Northern conference standings. Longmont won the first meeting so they have the edge right now but the clubs meet for a second time in Niwot on the 18th. Silver Creek (7-3) has a two-game edge on Greeley Central in the race for third. The Raptors are 25th in RPI and the Wildcats 41st.
It’s the same situation in the Jeffco between Evergreen (7-0) and D’Evelyn (6-1). The Cougars won the first meeting and that decision separates the two in the league standings. Match number two is set for October 25th. Evergreen is 7th in RPI and is in great position to host a regional. D’Evelyn won’t be a home for that round as they open the week 30th in the standings.
Golden and Standley Lake share third place but that tie will be broken when they collide for a second time this Thursday. Golden won the first meeting and the Demons are 29th in RPI. Standley Lake is 45th and has some major work to do to climb into the top 36.