Until we get heavy into the conference races, our weekly report on 4A volleyball will focus on the top matchups across the state.  There are several this week including a nice matchup between #2 Holy Family and D’Evelyn and continues through Thursday when #6 Pueblo West tangles with Discovery Canyon and #7 Ponderosa is challenged by Grandview.
Holy Family nearly lost a two-set lead but hung on to beat D’Evelyn 3-2 on Monday.  The Tigers won the opening two sets 25-22 and 25-18 but then dropped the next two 25-14, 26-24.  Game five was also a thriller as it went extras before the Tigers prevailed 18-16.
Tiger hitting standout Ali Travis entered the season needing just 18 kills to reach 1,000 for her career and she got there on Monday with a team-best 19.  Bianca Eldridge (13) and Rileigh Lynch (12) also reached double figures.  Travis (23) and Peyton Frank (22) topped the team in diggs and Carly Trostel opened the season with 54 assists.
For D’Evelyn, the loss was the third frustrating setback of the young season.  The Jags led both Chatfield and Thomas Jefferson two sets to one last week before dropping each match in five sets.  On Monday, they were the team that rallied from an early deficit but the comeback fell just short.  The Jags are off until next Tuesday when they host Elizabeth and there they will be favored to land their first win.  D’Evelyn was a pre-season top 10 club but dropped from the rankings with their 0-2 start.
Even with the win, it’s a quick turnaround for Holy Family as they tangle with a Thomas Jefferson team that is unranked this week but opened the season 10th.  The Spartans have also played D’Evelyn and were also forced to five sets before grabbing the win.  TJ trailed 2-1 but gained wins in game four (25-16) and five (15-10) to finish off the rally.
Bella Williams and Elle Maggio shared top hitting honors with 13 kills apiece.  Both are juniors.  Sophomore Leah Burke also reached double figures with 10.  Gracey Jarecke paced the team with 37 diggs and Pana Reiva provided team highs in assists (25) and aces (4).
Coming up Tuesday night is the 2018 debut of two-time defending state champion Lewis Palmer.  It’s no surprise the Rangers begin this season ranked #1 and they will face local rival and 10th ranked Coronado in their opener.  The visiting Cougars will continue to compete in the 5A CS Metro this year but will drop into Class 4A for the post-season so the contest could be a preview of a regional or state tournament contest.
Lewis Palmer carries a 58-match winning streak into the season as their last loss was suffered in the 2015 state championship contest.  There’s a good chance the winning streak will be extended as the Rangers return seven of their top eight hitters and their top ballhandler.  Taylor Buckley (207), Jadie DeLange (174), Riley Putnicki (165) and Trinity Jackson (158) were first through fourth in kills last year and McKenna Sciacca (845) assisted on most.
The Rangers have not faced Coronado during their long winning streak.  The Cougars do have a match under their belt as they bested Pueblo County 3-0 last Thursday.  That win also moved the Cougars into the top ten this week. They also tangle with Castle View on September 5th giving the Cougars back-to-back matches against defending state champions.
Against Pueblo County, Becca Rugg, with nine kills, led a balanced Cougar attack.  Maycie Rogers added seven, Mya Rooke six and Makayla Brown five.  Lacey Redinger is the only returnee among the top eight hitters from last year’s 23-win club and she collected three kills against Pueblo County, but led the team with 15 assists.
Despite beating Classical Academy in three sets last week, Palmer Ridge slipped two spots to fifth in the weekly rankings released Monday.  Summer Reflogal paced the Bears with 13 kills and Riley Anderson chipped in eight to give new coach Trevor Sullivan his first win with the program.  Elysia Glowacz stepped nicely into the setter’s spot and recorded 33 assists in her first varsity start.
Castle View, as mentioned, is the defending 5A state champion and the match with Palmer Ridge is their first action since landing the trophy last November.  It’s the start of a busy stretch as the Sabercats also compete in the rugged Regis Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
It’s a new roster for Castle View as the top seven hitters graduated.  But the team should get tremendous leadership from Leanne Lowry who compiled 736 diggs last year.  She could also become the top setter, replacing older sister Lauren who finished her senior season with 1,209 assists.
Ponderosa opened the season outside the top ten but a huge win over 5A power Cherry Creek (3-1) quickly moved them up to seventh.  Every game of that match was decided by five points or less with the Mustangs gaining the last two by identical 25-21 scores.  Jordyn Miller powered down 16 kills to tie for match high honors.  She received help from Taylor Wiebold (9) and Taylor Barker (7).  Barker also served up three aces as the Mustangs won that battle 7-4.  Abbey Telesz also notched 34 assists.
Against Grandview, the Mustangs face a team coming off a frustrating five set loss to Mountain Vista in their opener last week.  They dropped to 0-2 on the season with a loss to #2 Chaparral (5A) on Monday night.
Inconsistency hurt the Wolves against Mountain Vista.  While they captured sets two and three by two points apiece, they dropped the other three sets by a combined 36 points.  Elsa Lamphere paced Grandview with 13 kills and Hannah Skurcenski added nine.
The Wolves were more consistent against Chaparral as three of the four sets were decided by four points or less.   Lamphere again finished with 13 kills to lead the team but no other player had more than four.
Pueblo West breaks in a completely new roster as they open the season Thursday at home against a quality Discovery Canyon club.  The Cyclones bumped up to fifth in the 4A rankings despite not playing in the opening week.  West lost 10 of their top 11 hitters and their top setter to graduation.
Discovery Canyon made the state tournament a year ago but stumbled in a 3-0 loss to Erie in their season opener last week.  No stats are available but the game opened a difficult starting stretch for the Thunder.  After going to Pueblo West this week, they face Thomas Jefferson and D’Evelyn in their following two matches.
#3 Niwot won’t get their season started until September 4th when they visit Centaurus and then they tangle with Northridge two nights later.  Their first league encounter with Longmont is set for September 25th.
#4 Evergreen opened their campaign with an easy three set sweep over Denver Science where they outscored the opponents by a whopping 55 points.  The Cougars needed only 30 kills to gain the win including 11 from Claudia Dillon.   Stronger tests are up this week against Erie on Tuesday and Chatfield (5A) Thursday with both matches on the road.
Air Academy is ranked 8th this week.  They finally step on the court Tuesday night against local rival and 5A opponent Pine Creek.  The Kadets then collide with Fort Collins as part of the Regis Tournament this Friday.  The Lambkins are a top 10 team from Class 5A.
Cheyenne Mountain was left out of the pre-season rankings but the Indians climb in this week at #9 despite not seeing any official game action.  They open at 5A Doherty on Tuesday and then host Liberty two nights later.  Tuesday marks the debut of new coach Gail Sanchez who succeeds David Barkley who led the program to six state championships.