Rematches between Longmont â€“ Niwot in the Northern conference and Pueblo County â€“ Pueblo West in the South Central top the schedule for Class 4A volleyball this week.Â Also, on our list of top matches are a few key matches in the Pikes Peak including the Lewis Palmer â€“ Palmer Ridge rivalry.Â Each match has a direct impact on the respective conference championship races.
Longmont won a classic battle Niwot earlier this season.Â The Trojans grabbed a four-set win but the two local rivals were separated by just six points overall.Â Longmont finished with 95 points and Niwot 89.Â The Trojans win the Northern title outright with a second win while the Cougars force a tie for the top spot if they split the season series.
Serving and defense carried the Trojans to the win in game one.Â They totaled 12 aces to just seven for Niwot and recorded 90 diggs to 80 for the Cougars.Â Annika Wetterstrom led from the service line with seven aces and she also picked up 16 diggs.Â Tara Hitchcock and Zoe Lowe matched that total but Ellen Goodwin, with 31 diggs, paced the defensive charge.Â Wetterstrom also registered 39 assists.
For Niwot, Audrey Richard had 21 diggs and a team best three aces.Â Madison Schroeder chipped in 16 diggs and led everyone with 42 assists.
Up front, Niwot recorded 53 kills to just 49 for Longmont.Â Emma Falk paced the Cougars with 21 kills; Zoe Gonzales had 13 and Richard 11.Â Payton Jonason led Longmont with 14 and Ada Grace Creighton 11.
Thursdayâ€™s outcome will also play a role in RPI and regional bracketing.Â Both teams will host tournaments the first week of October as Longmont is third and Niwot fifth in RPI as of October 15th.Â Silver Creek is 24th in RPI and can wrap up third place in the league race with a win over Mountain View on Tuesday.Â They also host Thompson Valley on Thursday.
Pueblo Countyâ€™s win over Pueblo West last month ended the Cyclones lengthy 80-match conference winning streak.Â The decision also gave Pueblo County sole possession of the conference lead and a second win this week gives them the championship.Â Both teams have locked up a top two finish.Â Pueblo West, of course, earns a share of the title if they avenge the earlier loss.
Despite the earlier loss, Pueblo West is in much better shape for the post-season.Â Theyâ€™re seventh in RPI and could host a regional tournament.Â Pueblo County is 21st and needs a lot of help to play at home in the regional round.
Countyâ€™s first win was a three-game sweep 25-16, 25-22 and 25-21.Â Samantha Meehan totaled 11 kills and Kinley Gomez had eight.Â Pueblo West picked up a dozen kills from Reagan Emery and 10 from freshman Bella Adams.Â The Hornets won the battle at the service line and at the net with a 6-2 advantage in aces and 14-3 in blocks.Â Sophia Valentine had four blocks for County and Gomez three aces.
Lewis Palmer took the lead and command of the Pikes Peak chase with their 3-0 sweep of Discovery Canyon last week.Â The teams entered the match tied for the conference lead and 1-2 in the RPI standings but the Rangers dominated from start to finish.Â Discovery Canyon managed just 12 kills in the match and did not come within seven points of the Rangers in any of the three sets (25-18, 25-16, 25-10).
Balance at the net again the key component for the Rangers.Â Trinity Jackson had nine kills, Kessandra Krutsinger eight, Taylor Buckley seven and Adelaide Feek six.Â No Discovery Canyon player finished with more than three.
Lewis Palmer also totaled eight aces compared to none for the Thunder.Â Gianna Bartalo had 17 diggs for the Rangers and Sophie Bouschell 13.Â McKenna Sciacca added 26 assists; Hannah Pethtel led the Thunder with just five.
Next up for the Rangers are matches with Palmer Ridge Tuesday and Cheyenne Mountain on Thursday.Â Palmer Ridge is tied with Discovery Canyon in second place but dropped a three-setter to the Thunder earlier this year. Â We also listed the Cheyenne Mountain match because itâ€™s a great rivalry and is always one of the best volleyball atmospheres for a regular season match but the Indians are fifth in the conference standings this week.
Also important to the league race is a Thursday date between Discovery Canyon and Air Academy.Â If the Thunder pick up the road win, they secure second place and can climb back into a first place if Palmer Ridge upsets Lewis Palmer.
As expected, the league is well represented in the RPI standings released on Sunday and three teams will probably host regionals.Â Lewis Palmer sits in the top perch and Discovery Canyon is still second despite last weekâ€™s loss.Â Palmer Ridge is 6th and will see a boost in strength of schedule when they play Lewis Palmer.Â Air Academy (16th), Cheyenne Mountain (23rd) will also be in the bracket and Falcon (39th) is on the bubble.
Palisade (8-2) has a one game edge on Battle Mountain (8-3) and Steamboat Springs (7-3) in the Western Slope chase.Â The Bulldogs close with matches against Glenwood Springs (Thursday) and Eagle Valley (Thursday).Â Steamboat Springs also goes to Battle Mountain on Tuesday.
If Battle Mountain moves past Steamboat Springs, then Palisade clinches the league championship with a victory over Glenwood Springs.Â Should Steamboat Springs get that win, then the Bulldogs must win both matches to win the title outright.Â Palisade split two matches with Steamboat but won both against Battle Mountain.
Palisade is also in contention to host a regional as they begin the week 14th in the RPI.Â The top 12 teams serve as hosts.Â Battle Mountain (10th) is already in that group and Eagle Valley (17th) is trying to get there.Â Steamboat Springs 28th in RPI and Glenwood Springs 29th so both clubs should also be in the 36-team regional bracket.
Mesa Ridge and Classical Academy are both 4-0 and atop the Colorado Springs Metro by one game over Woodland Park and Canon City (both 4-1).Â Both leaders play Canon City this week so each could get tested.Â If both get through the week without a loss, the leaders meet at Classical Academy on the 23rd to decide the championship.
The Titans are 19th in RPI but thatâ€™s the highest ranking for any league team.Â Woodland Park is 25th and Canon City 30th.Â Mesa Ridge is 51st and must win the league title to earn a regional tournament bid.
Evergreen (9-0) opens the week with a two-game lead on Dâ€™Evelyn (6-2).Â The two clubs meet for a second time on the 25th but if Evergreen beats Standley Lake this week and Littleton on the 23rd, they will have clinched the championship before the rematch.Â Dâ€™Evelyn is trying to hold off Golden (6-3) for second place.Â The Jags go to Wheat Ridge on Tuesday and host Littleton on Thursday; Golden meets the same two clubs on opposite nights.
Sunday RPI standings placed Evergreen at 11th so they need to keep winning to secure a regional tournament host site.Â Golden is next for the league (26th) and Dâ€™Evelyn (34th) is in danger of missing out on the post-season.
Windsor locked up the Tri Valley title by beating Holy Family last week.Â Rylee Greiman (15) and Ally Kennis (11) combined for 26 kills in the four-set win.Â Ellie Garrett added 40 assists.
Despite the loss, the Tigers will end up second and the two could meet again as part of the league tournament that will be played Thursday and Saturday this week.Â Mead and Roosevelt are tied for third with the Mavericks winning the head-to-head match.Â Roosevelt must also play Windsor on Tuesday.Â Mead finishes league play at home against Frederick on Tuesday and Holy Family goes to Erie the same night.
Mead is all the way up to fourth in RPI this week with Holy Family 8th and Erie 9th meaning three teams could get regional tournament sites.Â Windsor will be a fourth team at home for regionals as the Wizards bump to Class 5A for the playoffs and they sit second in those RPI standings.
Frederick (18th) and Roosevelt (20th) are also post-season bound and Berthoud (35th) can also get in.
Thereâ€™s a very good chance that Englewood (9-1) and Weld Central (8-1) will end up sharing the Colorado 7 championship.Â Theyâ€™ve split two regular season matches and each has a two-game edge on third place Skyview.Â Both teams have matches with Alameda and Arvada this week and both have Skyview on the schedule next week.
Englewood moves into Class 3A for the post-season and sit 9th in the RPI so they could host a regional bracket.Â Weld Central is 15th and still in contention to host a 4A regional. Â They could be the only two teams in the playoffs as Conifer (36th) and Skyview (40th) are both on the bubble.
Ponderosa is in the lower half of the 5A Continental chase but the strong schedule always keeps the Mustangs in good shape in the 4A RPI.Â They open the week in 12th and would be the last team to get a regional tournament at home.
Montrose looks to finish second in the 4A/5A Southwestern league and like Ponderosa, their mixed schedule helps them in the RPI.Â Theyâ€™re one spot behind Ponderosa in 13th so both teams will be keeping an eye on the other this week.Â Montrose hosts Durango on Saturday and that game is meaningless to the SWL chase if Fruita Monument beats the Demons the night before.Â Durango is 38th in RPI and could use a couple of wins to sneak into the bracket.
Mullen competes in the Centennial league tournament and at 31st, seems to be safe for a 4A regional tournament bid.Â The Mustangs open the week with an overall record of 10-7.
Coronado is the fourth club that plays a predominant 5A schedule that comes into the bracket for the post-season.Â The Cougars are still very much alive for the 5A CS Metro title as theyâ€™re one of four teams with one league loss.Â The Cougars are also 27th in RPI and will be in the 4A bracket.