Tuesday is a very important night for early conference battles in Class 4A volleyball. Longmont and Niwot face off for the first half lead in the Northern league while D’Evelyn and Evergreen do the same in the Jeffco. The match between Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs is a first place meeting inside the Western Slope while Pueblo West looks to extend their conference winning streak with two more matches inside the South Central.
Thursday brings a very attractive meeting between Discovery Canyon and Palmer Ridge as the two clubs open Pikes Peak play and that same night, Skyview and Weld Central do battle for sole possession of the Colorado 7 league lead.
Ranked 4th and 5th respectively in Class 4A this week, Niwot and Longmont have had nearly identical conference results to this date. Both are 6-0 and each has dropped just one set in getting to that mark. Tuesday’s match is the first of two meetings between the rivals as they meet again on October 18th. Each already has a two-game cushion over third place Thompson Valley.
Both teams also feature good hitting depth at the net. Emma Falk paces Niwot with 81 kills but Zoe Gonzalez has 72, Aubrey Richard 49 and Natasha Terekhova 30. Longmont counters with Autumn Drees (84), Payton Jonason (79), Caroline Demosthenes (66), Ada Grace-Creighton (63) and Zoe Lowe (61).
Along the back line, Annika Wetterstrom tops Longmont with 298 assists against just five hitting errors. Niwot’s offense is directed by Madison Schroeder with 183 assists including at least 22 in each of the past four matches.
Longmont has won 10 straight since an opening loss to Mead. Niwot’s only loss came against #1 Lewis Palmer in the finals of the Rangers Invitational. They’ve won their last four.
#9 Evergreen has five more wins overall than D’Evelyn (9-4) but both teams are unbeaten in the Jeffco so their Tuesday battle will give the winner sole possession of first place. These two also meet again on October 25th to close the conference schedule and since each has a two-game edge on all other conference rivals, their two head-to-head battles should determine first and second.
Claudia Dillon leads Evergreen with 162 kills on the season and has also produced 12 aces in four league matches. Hayley Dillon has been strong in league play; recording 41 kills in four matches including a season best 16 against Green Mountain in her last outing. Katie Hayes (166 assists) and Gillian Hoerman (155) share setting duties but Hayes has had the hotter hand of late with 58 assists over her last three matches. Hoerman handed out 30 assists in her first two league contests but only 17 over the last two.
D’Evelyn’s Sophia Hoffman has had either 13 or 14 kills in each of the Jaguars three league wins. She leads the team on the season with 153. Lorena Payne picked up a season best 31 diggs in a win over Golden last week and tops the club with 171 for the season. Leah Sommer (235) combined for 36 assists in her first two league games and matched that number against Golden.
Battle Mountain and Steamboat Springs share the early Western Slope lead with Palisade. Each team enters the week with one conference play and tradition rich Eagle Valley is just one game off the pace. The only meeting of league leaders is Tuesday between the Huskies and Sailors.
Both have played Eagle Valley this year and both were pushed to five sets. Battle Mountain picked up a win behind 10 kills from Lillian Benway and nine from Marilyn Ricca. McKenzie Clyncke provided seven. Ava Spangler finished with 26 assists while Audrey Wright led the defense with 22 diggs.
Despite the loss to Eagle Valley, Steamboat Springs kept a share of first place by downing Palisade 3-1 last week. Anna Allsberry was the difference as she nailed down a season high 24 kills. She has 101 for the season. Abi Berlet also picked up 34 assists.
Regardless of Tuesday’s outcome, the West Slope chase is far from over. Both the Huskies and Sailors have rematches with both Palisade and Eagle Valley in October.
Pueblo West stretched their South Central league winning streak to 66 by beating Pueblo East and Pueblo South last week. The Cyclones enter the week tied with Pueblo County for the top spot with East and Centennial a game back at 1-1. The two first place teams meet the third place teams on Tuesday so the race could either tighten or loosen up a bit.
The Cyclones recent surge of seven straight wins also got them back into the Top 10 at #10. Reagan Emery led the way against East with 22 kills and added 14 more in the win over South.
County has been led in league play by Kinley Gomez and Samantha Meehan. They combined for 31 kills against Pueblo South and 30 against Pueblo Central last week.
Another first place meeting is set for Thursday in the Colorado 7 as Skyview entertains Weld Central. Like every other match we’ve mentioned thus far, the two clubs meet again in late October so the race will not be won or lost with results this week.
Both teams could be on the regional tournament bubble if they don’t win the league title. Weld Central is in good shape right now as they sit 23rd in RPI points but Skyview is only 40th so the match may be a bit more important to the Wolverines. They lost just one set in beating conference rivals Fort Lupton, Arvada, Alameda and Riverdale Ridge. Weld Central has swept all three league opponents; beating Conifer, Englewood and Riverdale Ridge in straight sets.
Emilee Warehime had 10 kills and Alawna Prokop nine in the Rebels most recent win over Conifer. Prokop had seven and Jenna White six to lead the clubs against Englewood.
Skyview was pushed by three sets by Fort Lupton but the Wolverines still grabbed a 3-1 victory. Fabiloa Sera and Alexis Becerra each had nine kills and Lyndsy Wilson added six. Shaeleigh Mitchell picked up 39 diggs and Sophia Trujillo had 18 assists.
League play has not started in either the Colorado Springs Metro or Pikes Peak conferences. That changes on Thursday in the Pikes Peak where conference matches open including a dandy between #2 Discovery Canyon and #7 Palmer Ridge. That winner will step forward as the main challenger to #1 Lewis Palmer in the league chase. The Rangers open at Falcon. Cheyenne Mountain also goes to Sand Creek and Air Academy visits Vista Ridge.
Discovery Canyon (10-1) has not lost since falling to Erie in the season opener and the stretch includes a quality five set win over D’Evelyn on September 11th. Paityn Kramer topped the Thunder with 19 kills and Leah Lester also reached double figures with 11. The Thunder had 23 aces including six apiece from Kramer and Lester. Sophie Bousell had 31 diggs and Lester 21. Hannah Pethtel finished with 30 aces.
Palmer Ridge enters the match coming off a five set loss to Liberty which dropped the Bears to 7-3 on the season. The Bears lost the hitting battle by just three kills (50-47) and were led by Brooklyn Gamble (14) and Summer Reflogal (13) at the net. Riley Anderson led four players in double figures with 16 diggs and Elysia Glowacz ended up with 43 assists.
The Bears won last year’s conference meeting in four sets including a 27-25 decision in the decisive fourth set. Reflogal was second for Palmer Ridge with 10 kills. No player reached double figures in kills for the Thunder.
Woodland Park (6-1) is the only CS Metro squad with fewer than four losses in non-league play. The Panthers fell from the unbeaten ranks in a 3-0 loss to Discovery Canyon last week. The Panthers open league play with Harrison on Thursday.
The Tri Valley league schedule is just one week old with Holy Family, Frederick and Windsor all winning their first two league matches. None of those three clubs square off this week so they could easily remain tied for the top spot going into October. Holy Family meets Skyline on Thursday for their only match. Frederick visits the Falcons on Tuesday and then has a match with Fort Morgan two nights later. Windsor, which cracked the 5A rankings at #10 this week, goes to Berthoud on Tuesday before hosting Erie on Thursday.