Regular season closing tournaments will dominate the schedule later in the week but four league champions still need to be crowned in Class 5A volleyball. Two of the titles could be handed out on Tuesday night while three teams most likely will end up sharing the Front Range crown. In the fourth, the rugged Continental chase, a champion may not be crowned until Wednesday or even Thursday.
We start there as Castle View, Chaparral and Highlands Ranch all share the Continental lead with identical 7-1 league marks. Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon are both 6-2 and just one game back, could still play a role in which teams finish in the top three.
Key matches this week include Highlands Ranch at Chaparral and Rock Canyon at Mountain Vista on Tuesday night. Castle View also goes to Chaparral on Wednesday and then Highlands Ranch heads to Rock Canyon on Thursday.
With so many head-to-head meetings between the top five teams in the conference, the scenarios to the championship are virtually too many to count. There is an easy track and it involves Castle View beating Heritage and Chaparral moving past Highlands Ranch on Tuesday night. Should that happen, the winner between Castle View and Chaparral on Wednesday will take home the top trophy and perhaps the number one overall playoff seed.
A second simple option has Highlands Ranch winning on Tuesday and beating Rock Canyon two nights later. If Chaparral also beats Castle View on Wednesday, then the Falcons end up with the league championship.
The conference more than likely will have five teams hosting regional tournaments next week. Before matches on Monday night, Castle View, Mountain Vista and Rock Canyon were 1-2-3 in the RPI standings. They are locks to host post-season tournaments next week. Highlands Ranch is 9th and Chaparral 11th and those two teams could also end up at home next week. Legend is 16th and not quite out of that race either.
ThunderRidge (30th) and Douglas County (31st) could also get into the bracket and Heritage (39th) is still in contention. Ponderosa is 26th in Class 4A and should get into those regional pairings as well.
Another three-way tie for the top spot can be found in the Front Range where Fossil Ridge, Rocky Mountain and Fort Collins begin the final week with just one loss apiece. Defending state champion Fossil Ridge has earned at least a share of the crown as the Sabercats have finished their league schedule. Rocky Mountain goes to Horizon and Fort Collins entertains Monarch on Tuesday. Wins will keep the Lobos and Lambkins in first place as well.
All three league leaders should host regional tournaments next week. Fossil Ridge is ranked 5th in RPI with Rocky Mountain 7th and Fort Collins 8th.
Legacy is most likely the fourth-place team in the Front Range. They share the position with Horizon but have a win over the Hawks. Plus, Horizon has the meeting with Rocky Mountain on Tuesday. Legacy hosts Poudre in their conference finale the same night.
The Lightning are 25th in RPI and Horizon 28th. Fairview (32nd), Boulder (35th) and Broomfield (38th) remain in contention.
Tuesday night marks the championship match inside the Colorado Springs Metro. Coronado goes to Rampart and both teams enter the contest unbeaten in league play. Both teams also lead third-place Liberty by two games so the loser still ends second.
Coronado is sixth in RPI points so the Cougars are in great shape to host a regional tournament. Rampart is 14th but a win over Coronado could be enough to get the Rams into the top 12 before the final standings are posted on Sunday.
Liberty is up to 21st in the RPI standings this week. The Lancers are just 11-8 overall but could be playing their best volleyball of the season. They posted a strong five-set win over 4A power Pueblo West last Saturday. The Lancers finish conference play at Pine Creek on Tuesday and will clinch third with a win there.
The fourth conference title up for grabs this week is the East Metro. Rangeview (8-0) has a one game lead on Brighton (7-1) and a two-game edge on Prairie View and Vista Peak (both 6-2). The Raiders have beaten all three challengers in conference play so they clinch the title by beating either Westminster on Tuesday or Adams City on Thursday. Both matches are on the road.
Rangeview is 33rd in RPI points but will get in the tournament regardless of where they finish in the standings if they win the league crown as expected. Brighton is 36th and would also get a bid at this point. The playoff berth though is tenuous as the Bulldogs lead Grand Junction and Broomfield by just .002 points in the RPI standings posted on Monday.
Brighton hosts Gateway on Tuesday and Northglenn on Thursday. They could use wins in both matches to extend their season past this week.
Vista Peak drops into the 4A division for the playoffs and the Bison are 27th in RPI there so they should get an invitation to the bracket.
Chatfield ended up with another Jeffco championship as the Chargers finished 6-1 and one game better than Columbine, Ralston Valley and Lakewood. The Chargers are also in line to host a regional as they sit 10th in RPI standings. Ralston Valley (15th), Lakewood (17th), Dakota Ridge (18th) and Columbine (20th) are all safely in the bracket. Bear Creek (40th) is on the outside of the top 36 entering the final week of play.
Cherry Creek captured the regular season crown in the Centennial and then won all three matches in the league challenge event following conference play. At #13, the Bruins are on the bubble concerning a host site for a regional tournament. Teams immediately ahead of them are Chaparral (11th) and Denver East (12th).
Cherokee Trail ended up second in the league chase and the Cougars are 19th in RPI. Eaglecrest is 24th and Grandview 29th. Both the Raptors and Wolves should get post-season invites. Arapahoe is 34th and trying to be one of the last teams in the bracket.
Denver East won the overall Denver Prep league crown by beating Thomas Jefferson in four sets last Wednesday. That win and another over Denver South pushed the Angels into 12th and in position to host a regional tournament. Denver South is 23rd and likely the only other City league member to be in the 5A post-season bracket.
Thomas Jefferson could also host a regional tournament in the 4A division. The Spartans are 11th in the RPI this week.
Fruita Monument closed their perfect conference run by beating Durango again last week. That victory finished a season sweep of the second-place Demons and cemented the Southwestern league championship for the Wildcats. The wins also pushed Fruita all the way to fourth in the RPI so they will easily host a regional tournament next week.
As mentioned, Grand Junction is on the bubble for a playoff berth. The Tigers are 37th overall but are just are just .019 away from moving up to 32nd.
Many teams in Class 5A will close the regular season by participating in various tournaments this weekend. We’re in the process of collecting tournament brackets and will post the schedules later in the week. Those matches are also important as results will factor into the final RPI standings on Sunday.
NOTE: RPI standings used in this report were posted by CHSAANOW on Monday October 23rd. They change daily as results from matches are turned in.