It’s an important week inside the 4A Volleyball ranks as two conferences see leaders go head-to-head and a third league leader faces their top two challengers for a second time.  Results from all four matches will help determine final conference standings and where teams end up in the regional tournament bracket.
First up is the likely league championship game inside the Jeffco as Valor Christian and D’Evelyn tangle on Tuesday night.  Both teams are 4-0 in conference play with a two game edge on all other clubs.  Each has already posted a win over top 10 member Evergreen as well.
Valor Christian has not lost a set since falling to Lewis Palmer on September 21st sweeping Montrose, Green Mountain, Evergreen, Wheat Ridge and Littleton.  Leading hitter Courtney Lane (104 kills) has 36 kills during the stretch on 80 attempts.  Lily Thomason did not play against Montrose but has rolled up 37 kills in the last four matches on just 54 swings.
D’Evelyn is unbeaten overall at 12-0 with only three sets lost for the entire season.  One of those came in the league opener with Evergreen (3-1) but since the Jaguars have swept Green Mountain, Golden and Standley Lake.
The top three hitters for the Jags all recorded season highs in kills against Evergreen.  Sophia Hoffman went for 19, Peyton Wright 18 and Julie Helm 10.  Wright is the overall leader with 115 and has added 33 more in her last three outings.  Hoffman is second with 91 and Helm third at 78.
The second meeting of league unbeatens is Thursday night between Lewis Palmer and Discovery Canyon.  Both clubs are 3-0 in the rugged Pikes Peak but the top ranked Rangers are heavily favored.  If they beat Air Academy on Tuesday, they will enter the showdown with DC winners in 38 of their last 39 league matches.
Six players have at least 50 kills for Lewis Palmer.  Jadie DeLange, with 103 leads the list but she’s followed by Taylor Buckley (91), Riley Putnicki (79), Kessandra Krutsinger (77), Trinity Jackson (61) and Adelaide Feek (52).
Discovery Canyon, who also meets Vista Ridge on the road Tuesday, kept their share of first place by beating Cheyenne Mountain for the first time in school history last week.  Leah Lester powered the Thunder with 19 kills and Ashten Prechtel had 10.  Hannah Pethtel added 33 assists.
Palmer Ridge and Air Academy share third place at 2-1 and they face off Tuesday.  Palmer Ridge has already played (and lost) to Lewis Palmer so a win keeps them very much alive for at least a second place finish.  They too picked up their first ever win over Cheyenne Mountain last week.
With wins over second place Palisade and third place Glenwood Springs, Eagle Valley is alone atop the Western Slope standings.  But to stay there, they will need to beat the Bulldogs and Demons for a second time.  The rematch with Glenwood Springs is Tuesday and Palisade on Thursday.  The Devils realistically clinch the league title with two more wins.
Emma Lassa dropped in 15 kills to finish with one more kill than the entire Glenwood Springs team in the first meeting.  Eagle Valley won in three sets.  Becy Glutova added nine kills for the Devils who outhit the Demons 34-14 on the night.
Against Palisade, Lass and Glutova exchanged roles.  Glutova was the leader with 13 kills and Lassa added a dozen.  Elyse Fitzpatrick (8) and Shelbi Lubbers (7) also had good efforts as the Devils finished with 44 kills.  Bree Gates (20) and Erin Keeney (16) combined for 36 kills.
Should Eagle Valley sweep both rematches, they will have a two game edge on Palisade and three over Glenwood Springs.  The Bulldogs and Demons would then meet on the 19th to determine second and third.  Palisade won the first meeting in four sets.
Niwot has a comfortable two game edge in the Northern and can increase to three by beating second place Longmont on Tuesday night.  The Cougars sit at 10-0 and Longmont is 8-2.
The contest is a rematch of a tremendous five-setter won by the Cougars earlier this season.  Three of the first four sets were decided by four points or less and Niwot survived in game five 15-13.  The rivals combined for a whopping 115 kills and were separated by just for the match.
Mackenzie Fidelak led Niwot with 15 kills and Audrey Richard added 12.  Emma Falk and Julia Stephenson each chipped in nine.  Longmont’s Rachel Kusbel led both clubs with 22 and Caroline Demosthenes was next with 11.  Autumn Drees had nine and Payton Jonason eight.
Longmont won the service battle with 12 aces compared to seven for Niwot.  The Cougars though had 13 blocks to just six for the Trojans.  Katie Hirsh (30) and Fidelak (20) combined for 50 assists for Niwot.  Annika Wetterstrom led Longmont with 44.
Thompson Valley (7-3) and Mountain View (6-4) are third and fourth in the race.  They too face off on Tuesday and Mountain View also challenges Niwot on Thursday.
Only two teams remain in the Tri Valley title chase.  Holy Family leads the pack at 9-0 with Windsor a game back at 8-1.  All other clubs have at least four league loss.  Holy Family and Windsor meet for a second time on the 19th.  This week the Tigers go to Erie on Tuesday and host Frederick.  The Wizards are home to Roosevelt on Tuesday before visiting Skyline two nights later.
Pueblo West can lock up another South Central championship by beating Pueblo County on Tuesday night.  West beat the Hornet 26-24, 26-24, 25-8 on September 21st and that result separates the two in the league standings.  The Cyclones have not lost a league match since the 2010 season.
Reagan Emery led the Cyclones with 11 kills, MaLeigha Menegatti had eight and Olivia Sherman seven.  Hailee Stamps topped Pueblo County nine and Sammy Meehan had seven.
Canon City (3-0), Elizabeth (3-0) and Classical Academy (2-0) top the Colorado Springs Metro chase.  None of the three leaders square off this week so they could remain tied going into next week but a league championship is very important to all three.  As of Tuesday morning, Classical Academy is the only one of the three that would qualify for the state tournament based on RPI.  The Titans are 30th with Canon City 38th and Elizabeth 39th.
Elizabeth has the most difficult test as they host Mesa Ridge on Thursday.  The Grizzlies are fourth at 2-1 in league play.
Canon City meets Widefield on Tuesday and Harrison on Thursday.  Classical Academy faces Mitchell and Woodland Park on the same two nights.
Fort Morgan continues to win inside the Colorado 7 but they’ve backed up in the RPI.  The Mustangs were in the top 15 last week and close to hosting a regional.  They won five of six matches last week but dropped to 20th in the standings as of Tuesday morning.
The Mustangs host Englewood on Tuesday and they go to Weld Central on Thursday.  They’re tied with Weld Central atop the league standings with Englewood in third.  Wins in both should land Fort Morgan a second consecutive crown.
RPI is used to determine the 36 qualifiers and seeding for the regional tournament.  A league champion advances to the post-season if they sit outside the top 36 at seasons end.  With RPI numbers from Tuesday morning, here’s a list of qualifiers from each 4A conference.  Vista Peak (East Metro), Ponderosa (Continental) and Mullen (Centennial) qualify as 4A clubs competing in 5A conferences.

  • PIKES PEAK: Lewis Palmer, Palmer Ridge, Discovery Canyon, Air Academy, Cheyenne Mountain
  • NORTHERN: Niwot, Longmont, Thompson Valley, Mountain View, Greeley Central, Silver Creek
  • JEFFCO: D’Evelyn, Valor Christian, Evergreen,
  • TRI VALLEY: Holy Family, Windsor, Roosevelt, Erie, Berthoud, Frederick, Northridge
  • SOUTH CENTRAL: Pueblo West, Pueblo County
  • CITY: Thomas Jefferson
  • SOUTHWEST: Montrose, Durango
  • COLORADO 7: Fort Morgan
  • WESTERN SLOPE: Glenwood Springs, Palisade, Eagle Valley, Battle Mountain
  • EAST METRO: Vista Peak
  • CONTINENTAL: Ponderosa
  • CS METRO: Widefield, Classical Academy
  • CENTENNIAL: Mullen