With some of the league heavyweights already facing off, we’re starting to see some shaking out within the Continental conference. Newly top ranked Castle View continued their recent surge to score an exhausting five set win over Mountain Vista on Tuesday. With the win, the Sabercats moved to 2-0 in early conference play but the wins have come against the 2nd ranked Golden Eagles and 4th ranked Rock Canyon (last week).
Castle View led Mountain Vista two sets to one before dropping set four 25-18. That led to a spirited fifth set where the Sabercats scored a 15-11 decision to stay unbeaten against in-state opponents. Kate Menz, with 17 kills, led four players in double figures. Holly Schmidt was next with 14, Ashley Echols 13 and Genna Ryan-Piasecki 10. Overall the Sabercats finished with 60 kills in 195 attacks (30.8 %).
The schedule doesn’t get any easier however as Castle View lines up against Legend on Thursday. The Titans are 7-4 on the second but scored a crucial early league win over Rock Canyon in four sets Tuesday night. That win followed a tough three set loss to Highlands Ranch the week before and prevented Legend from starting conference play 0-2.
Rock Canyon received 30 kills from senior standout Keeley Davis but the rest of the team managed just 23. With back-to-back losses, the Jaguars chance at a league championship are now slim but they remain a top five club and serious state championship contender.
Sharing the Continental lead with Castle View is Chaparral (2-0), ThunderRidge (1-0) and Highlands Ranch (1-0). Chaparral has wins over Douglas County and Regis and should get a third at home against Heritage Thursday night. They then visit ThunderRidge and Rock Canyon in their next two league tilts.
ThunderRidge outlasted Ponderosa 3-2 in their opener but lost four nights later to Chatfield in three sets. Celine Dufresne (17) and Lauren Damour (12) combined for 29 kills against Pondo.
Highlands Ranch as mentioned, topped Legend in their league opener behind 13 kills from Cassie Davis and 11 from Kelsie Milkowski. They host Regis on Thursday.
Four teams head to the weekend sharing the Front Range lead as Horizon is 4-0, Fossil Ridge 3-0 and both Fort Collins and Legacy 2-0. Of the bunch, Fort Collins may have the most important win as they clubbed Rocky Mountain in three sets earlier this week. The loss was the first in conference play and overall for the Lobos who were coming off a big win over Cherry Creek last Saturday. Despite that win and unbeaten mark at the time, Rocky did not break into the rankings and because of Tuesday’s loss likely won’t be included next Monday either.
Fort Collins outhit Rocky Mountain 33-29 in kills and 43 to 31 in kill percentage. Ella Steemsa led the Lambkins with 10 kills and Hannah Serbousek added eight. Rocky’s AnnaMarie Dodson led all hitters with a dozen.
The Lambkins also turned the match at the service line finishing with 12 aces compared to just three for the Lobos.
Both teams return to league action on Thursday and while the Lambkins host Greeley West, the Lobos have another important date with Fossil Ridge. An upset of the defending state champions puts Rocky Mountain right back in the league championship chase but another loss drops them two back and likely out of contention.
Fossil Ridge has not dropped a set in conference play while dispatching Monarch, Loveland Poudre.
Horizon is also 9-2 overall and has played good volleyball to this point. After beating Fairview in three sets Tuesday night, the Hawks have a week to prep for their match with Fossil Ridge on the 26th. Camden Strain leads Horizon with 97 kills and Alyssa Desplinter has 226 of the team’s 236 assists.
In a Centennial league normally stocked with top ten clubs, Cherry Creek (8th) is the lone team in the rankings this week. The Bruins share the conference lead with Cherokee Trail; both are 2-0 early on. Creek is off the rest of this week and won’t face the Cougars until October 5th. Cherokee Trail next hits the court at Smoky Hill next Wednesday.
9th ranked Fruita Monument is 9-1 overall and the Wildcats along with Grand Junction both won Southwestern League openers Tuesday night. The Wildcats whipped GJ Central allowing only 36 points in the sweep. Nine players had at least one kill. Dana Thomson led the way with a dozen.
Grand Junction meantime clipped Montrose in five sets on the road and that’s a big win for the Tigers. Montrose is in the 4A division but routinely challenges and often wins the league’s top trophy. Breck Smith had 17 kills and 19 diggs. Katie Carozza added 11 kills and a team best 20 digs. Lindy Spiegel ended up with 43 assists.
Brighton, Vista Peak, Aurora Central and Westminster all picked up wins in early East Metro conference action. Perennial challengers Prairie View and Rangeview have yet to serve it up against a conference rival. Vista Peak (6-4) is the only league team above five hundred for the season.
Only one league match has been played in the City league. Denver North edged Montbello to earn their first win overall as well. Denver East and Thomas Jefferson (4A) remain the favorites. East is 5-4 on the season and last saw action in a quality four-set win over Lakewood. T-J has won 8 of 11 matches and their conference opener is September 28th against Denver West.
No league games have been played in either the Colorado Springs Metro or Jeffco conferences but the usual suspects will likely be in contention. Coronado (8-2) has the best overall record in the CS Metro but should get challenged by Pine Creek (6-5) and Rampart (2-3). The Cougars have a tough match with 4A Cheyenne Mountain on Thursday. It’s their final tune-up before league action starts against Pine Creek a week from Thursday.
In the Jeffco, 6th ranked Chatfield is the lone conference member in the top 10. The Chargers are 5-2 thus far. Lakewood normally pushes the Chargers and they’ll enter conference play at 5-6 and coming off the loss to Denver East. A team to watch could be Dakota Ridge. The Eagles are unbeaten (6-0) and playing good volleyball. They get in a good test with Lakewood in the league opener for both on Friday. The next day, Chatfield competes in the Rampart Tournament.
RPI STANDINGS – PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 21ST
- Castle View
- Highlands Ranch
- Mountain Vista
- Rock Canyon
- Fossil Ridge
- Fruita Monument
- Fort Collins
- Rocky Mountain
- Dakota Ridge
- Cherry Creek
- Ralston Valley
- Denver South
- Cherokee Trail
- Denver East
- Douglas County
- Pine Creek
- Grand Junction
- Bear Creek