Class 5A volleyball is roughly a month into regulation play, however we are just now getting some clarity about the strengths of squads, the validity of projected talent, and how much fun the fanatics are going to have witnessing the 2018 conference play ahead.
For some programs, league play is already beginning this week. For most others, this week presents some more non-conference tests before engaging in the relentless peppering of in-conference rivals.
Here is a handful of Top 10 matches that should make you look this week:
Tuesday: #2 Cherokee Trail at #1 Lewis Palmer (4A)
So they dropped a four-set, season-opening match to the current #1 in Class 5A and have now put together a string of seven consecutive non-conference match victories. Next for 2nd-ranked Cherokee Trail (6-1, 0-0) is a road date with the nationally-ranked Lewis-Palmer Rangers (6-1, 0-0).
Junior S Sydney Cole (10.4 assists/set) ranks second among 5A setters and near the Top 20 in total service aces (16) in her classification. Cougars attackers who are recording impressive early season statistics include junior OH Sami Campion hitting at a Top 5 efficiency percentage (.315) to go with a high-ranking kills average (3.5 kills/set). On the opposite pin, sophomore RS Amaya Messier is also recording top-of-the-pack efficiency (.248) and kills numbers (2.9 kills/set).
Tuesday: #2 Ponderosa (4A) at #1 Chaparral
The Wolverines went on the road to hunt down the top squad in Class 4A last week and will now play the 2nd-ranked team in that class at home in a Parker Pride showdown with Ponderosa (8-1, 0-0).
During their non-conference schedule, #1 Chaparral (8-1, 0-0) has already beaten five Top 10 opponents – two of which were ranked at the top of their classifications at the time.
Senior MH Abby Heimlicher (.345) and junior RS Julianna Dalton (.305) rank second and sixth, respectively, in Class 5A hitting efficiency. Senior OH Kira Thomsen (3.2 kills/set) is recording a Top 20 kills rate among 5A attackers.
This decade, Chap’ is 7-3 against their in-town rivals from Pondo.
Tuesday: #9 Cherry Creek at #10 Rock Canyon
These are a pair of tournament teams from 2017 with a lighter sample size so far compared to most of the other projected contenders in Class 5A. Although poll votes are meaningless with regard to these squads’ focus on sharpening up before their respective conference races, my instinct is that the result of this match will determine who stays in the CHSAA Top 10 next week.
9th-ranked Cherry Creek (1-2, 0-0) has hinted they have a formidable pair of defenders at net with senior RS/MB Audrey Leyden (1.4 blocks/set) and freshman MB Carter Booth (1.4 blocks/set) showing in the Top 5 in 5A block stat rankings. Senior OH Katie Sherman (3.1 kills/set) ranks near the Top 20 in kills average.
As they battle through their aggressive non-league slate, this is an opportunity for #10 Rock Canyon (2-4, 0-0) to earn a quality match win. Junior RS/ OH Libby Goodman (1.1 blocks/set) is recording Top 20 block numbers while senior L/DS Alex Leitner (4.8 digs/set) ranks Top 20 among Class 5A back row studs.
Wednesday: #3 Fort Collins at #6 Fossil Ridge
As you are likely aware, the 5A volleyball in Larimer County has been trending with strength. Here is a pair of neighbors about to set the early tone in Front Range League play.
3rd-ranked Fort Collins (5-1, 0-0) has notched three victories over Top 10 squads – including the win over current #1 Chaparral. Junior OH Hannah Serbousek (3.8 kills/set) sits ninth in 5A kills average ranks and fifteenth (.271) in hitting percentage. Junior S/RS Sabrina Vandelist (9.5 assists/set) ranks sixth in the state in assists average.
Senior MB/OH Riley Zuhn (4.7 kills/set) leads #6 Fossil Ridge (2-1, 0-0) and all Class 5A attackers in hitting efficiency while both setters, junior Rachel Lambrecht (8.1) and sophomore Peyton Dunn (6.0) are listed within or near Top 20 assists per set averages.
Thursday: #8 Chatfield at #2 Cherokee Trail
The pace of scheduling starts to pick up for the 8th-ranked Chatfield (3-1, 0-0) crew. The degree of difficulty in the next two weeks is noticeable – including this match with #2 Cherokee Trail (6-1, 0-0).
Chargers DS/L Alexa Alameddin (5.3 digs/set) ranks around the Top 10 for back row D in the 5A classification.
Senior MB Savannah Spitzer (1.1 blocks/set) is listed around the Top 10 in blocks average and currently ninth in total blocks (27).
These two perennial power programs have not met in non-conference nor tournament play since October 27, 2015.
Other notable matches on radar:
- Tuesday: Legend at #7 Castle View
- Tuesday: Montrose (4A) at Fruita Monument
- Thursday: #1 Chaparral at Mountain Vista
- Thursday: Legend at #5 Valor Christian
- Thursday: #2 Ponderosa (4A) vs #10 Rock Canyon (covered in 4A Report)
- Friday/Saturday: Eaglecrest Tournament Field includes Eaton, Fossil Ridge, Cheyenne Mountain, Denver East, Legacy, Mountain Vista, Pine Creek, Brighton and host Raptors