5A VOLLEYBALL CONFERENCE BREAKDOWN

With the regular season winding down over the next couple of weeks, our 5A Volleyball report this week changes a bit.  We’ll break from the normal look at individual numbers and focus completely on conference races and RPI standings.  The top 36 teams in the final RPI standings at the end of the regular season qualify for the playoffs and the top 12 host three team regional tournaments.

Please note the RPI standings used in this report were taken from numbers posted Monday night.  With matches played virutally every night of the week, the standings are constantly changing.

 

COLORADO SPRINGS METRO

Coronado and Rampart start the week tied for the top spot at 4-0 and since they don’t square off until next week, the conference race won’t be decided this week.  Pine Creek and Liberty are tied for third with one loss apiece and each has a match with one of the conference leaders on tap so the two are still very much alive.  Rampart goes to Liberty on Tuesday and Coronado faces Pine Creek on Thursday.  If both the Rams and Cougars post wins there, then their matchup on the 24th will determine first and second.

Coronado is 8th in the RPI standings and Rampart is 17th so both clubs are safely in the regional tournament bracket with the Cougars in position to host.  Liberty (25th) and Pine Creek (27th) also appear to be headed to the post-season.

 

FRONT RANGE

If both Fossil Ridge and Fort Collins get by fourth place Legacy this week, there’s a good chance the league will end in a three-way between the Sabercats, Lambkins and Rocky Mountain.  All begin the week with one conference loss and since they’ve beaten each other, there’s really no way to break the tie.  And with RPI standings, it’s not necessary for post-season seeding.

Legacy has two league losses and hosts Fossil Ridge on Tuesday and then goes to Fort Collins on Thursday.  Those two matches are realistically the only challenges left for the three co-leaders.  The Lightning of course can cause some chaos among the leaders by posting one or two upsets this week.

Fossil Ridge also hosts Mountain Range on Thursday and that match closes the defending state champions conference schedule.  Fort Collins goes to Horizon on Tuesday and also has a league date with Monarch next week.  Rocky Mountain has three more league matches to play.  They host Broomfield Tuesday; go to Monarch on Thursday and then face Horizon in their finale next week.

The league could host three regionals in a couple of weeks.  Rocky Mountain (5th) and Fossil Ridge (7th) are in good shape to play at home the first weekend of post-season play.  And Fort Collins (10th) is definitely in position to join them.

Other league teams that should make the regional bracket include Loveland (21st), Legacy (24th), Horizon (29th) and Fairview (32nd).  Boulder (35th) and Broomfield (37th) sit squarely on the bubble.

 

JEFFCO

Chatfield suffered an upset league loss to Bear Creek and the result dropped the Chargers into a three way tie for the top spot with Ralston Valley and Lakewood.  All three have one league loss but since Chatfield has beaten the other, they remain in complete control of the title chase.  The Chargers can grab another crown by beating Dakota Ridge and Pomona at home Tuesday and Thursday respectively.

Should that happen, then the Tuesday between Ralston Valley and Lakewood should determine second place.  Columbine (3-2) is still in the mix for a top three finish and they face Ralston Valley on Thursday in another important match.  If Ralston Valley loses on Tuesday and then Columbine gains a win over the Mustangs on Thursday the Rebels are the third place team and Ralston drops all the way to fourth.

Despite last week’s loss, Chatfield remains in the top 12 of RPI (9th) so they can still host a regional tournament.  Ralston Valley (14th) and Lakewood (15th) are also knocking on the door so their meeting on Tuesday has post-season impact in addition to the conference standings.

Dakota Ridge (18th) and Columbine (19th) are also in the top 20 but likely out of range of hosting a regional tournament.  The win over Chatfield greatly helped Bear Creek as the Bears climbed to 34th this week and they would be in the bracket if the playoffs opened this week.

 

CENTENNIAL

The league champion was crowned last week as Cherry Creek finished up the conference schedule at 7-0.  Cherokee Trail placed second but ended up two games back of the Bruins.  All eight teams are continuing their play in the Centennial challenge this week.  The champion Bruins meet Smoky Hill on Tuesday and Eaglecrest on Thursday.

Cherry Creek could use some more wins to solidify their chances at playing at home in the regional round.  The Bruins are 11th in the RPI and battling the likes of Fort Collins, Legend, Chaparral and Ralston Valley for one of the last host spots.  They’re the only conference team that has a chance to host a regional tourney.

Elsewhere, Cherokee Trail (20th) and Eaglecrest (26th) sit in the top 30 and appear safe for regionals.  Araphoe (30th) and Grandview (33th) are both on the bubble.  Mullen is also on the fence for the 4A playoffs.  They’re 33rd in RPI points in that division.

 

CONTINENTAL

After the entire league took a break from league action last week, the clubs return to the business of finding a league champion.  Its very crowded at the top with Highlands Ranch (6-0) leading Mountain Vista, Chaparral and Castle View (all 5-1) by one game and Rock Canyon (5-2) and Legend (4-2) by two.

The Falcons though have three of those clubs left on the schedule including one this week.  They host Mountain Vista on Thursday and then tangle with Chaparral and Rock Canyon on the next week.  Ranch also meets Heritage on Friday of this week.

For Mountain Vista, the Thursday date with Highlands Ranch is the second of two important meetings.  They also tangle with Chaparral on the road Tuesday.  Up next week are matches with Rock Canyon and Legend so the Golden Eagles have a very difficult finishing schedule.

Castle View may have the easiest road to the championship as the Sabercats have played all of the top contenders except for Chaparral.  They close with the Wolverines on the 25th.  Before that match, the Sabercats meet Douglas County and Ponderosa this week and Heritage next Tuesday.

With two league losses already, it will be difficult for either Rock Canyon or Legend to climb past four other teams and into the top spot.  The Jaugars have just one league match this week; against Ponderosa on Tuesday.  Legend has two conference dates; going to ThunderRidge on Tuesday and hosting Chaparral two nights later.

The league remarkably could have six teams hosting regional tournaments.  Castle View, Mountain Vista, Highlands Ranch and Rock Canyon are the top four teams in the RPI standings and they all will host.  Legend (12th) and Chaparral (13th) are also in contention to join them.

Douglas County enters the week at 6-10 overall but the Huskies are in position to land a playoff berth.  They’re 31st in RPI.  Heritage is also 40th and Regis 42nd.  Ponderosa appears to be safely in the 4A bracket with the Mustangs at #22 in that classification.

 

DENVER PREP

Cross over matches are set for this week in the mixed classification league.  Denver East (5A) and Thomas Jefferson (4A) as expected won their division crowns and the long-time rivals meet on Wednesday to determine the overall champion.  Many other matches are set for this week to determine the remaining overall positions.

Denver East is 16th in the RPI standings and that’s a credit to the strong schedule the Angels have played.  The slate should also have them prepared for the post-season.  Denver South (23rd) is a second league member that will make the 5A bracket.

Thomas Jefferson sits 12th in the 4A RPI so the Spartans are in contention to host a regional tournament.  Evergreen and Pueblo County are the two teams directly ahead of them with Durango and Mountain View chasing from behind.  George Washington (38th) could use a few more wins to join T-J in the 4A bracket.

 

EAST METRO

Rangeview (7-0) leads Brighton and Vista Peak (both 6-1) by one game with each club having three league matches remaining.  The first place Raiders beat Brighton last week and will host Vista Peak on Thursday.  One has to think Rangeview will wrap up the title by getting that win.  They also Westminster and Adams City next week.  If they beat Vista Peak on Thursday, the Raiders need just one more win to officially clinch the championship.

Brighton also has a win over Vista Peak so the Bulldogs are in position for a top two league finish.  All three teams of course could end up sharing the top spot if the Bison upset Rangeview this week.  Brighton goes to Aurora Central on Tuesday and then meets Gateway and Northglenn in the final week.

Winning the league title seems to be the best route for a league team to play in the post-season.  Rangeview is 36th in RPI and Brighton is 38th.  The league champion earns a bid regardless of their RPI finish and that team could be the only club invited to the 5A playoff bracket.

Vista Peak is in better shape concerning the 4A playoffs as that’s where they compete in the post-season.  The Bison are 27th in points starting this week.

 

SOUTHWESTERN

Fruita Monument took over sole possession of the conference lead by beating Durango last week.  The win did not sew up the title as the two clubs meet again on the Demons home court this Friday.  All other league clubs have at least four losses so the Wildcats and Demons will finish one-two.

Both teams have a second league match this week.  Fruita goes to Grand Junction on Tuesday and Durango entertains Montrose on Saturday.  The matches finish up the league schedule for both teams and if Fruita wins on Tuesday, they’ll clinch at least a share of the crown.

Fruita Monument is 6th in RPI points and should host a regional tournament but they could be the only league team in the 5A bracket.  Grand Junction (39th) and Grand Junction Central (48th) are both outside the top 36 going into play this week.

Durango is 13th in the 4A standings so they remain in contention to host.  Evergreen, Pueblo County and Thomas JEfferson are the three teams directly ahead of them in spots 10-12.  A win over Fruita this Friday could be enough to get them past one of those clubs.

Montrose is 18th in RPI and also safely in the 4A playoff pairings.

 


Neil Devlin

Neil Devlin

Neil H. Devlin is in his 40th year covering Colorado high-school sports. He's currently the Sports Information Director at Mullen High in southwest Denver. Twitter: @neildevlin. Web: www.mullenhigh,com

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