With a combined seven teams in the top ten this week, the Continental and Front Range are considered the best conferences in Class 5A.  And each has at least one matchup this week that will greatly impact the eventual league champion.  A third matchup set for Thursday could decide the Centennial crown.
The first occurred on Monday as Rock Canyon upended Chaparral in four sets inside the Continental.  It was the first conference loss for Chaparral and the result left Highlands Ranch alone atop the standings.  The Falcons are 4-0 while Chaparral dropped to 4-1 and into a tie with Mountain Vista and Castle View in second place.  Despite the win, Rock Canyon remains in fifth with a 4-2 record.
Keeley Davis was the difference maker.  She led the Jaguars with 22 kills on only 55 attempts.  The rest of the team managed 16 kills in the win.  Davis now has 266 kills for the season and Monday’s match was her sixth of the season with at least 20.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Jags as they go to ThunderRidge on Tuesday for their final match of the week.  Chaparral looks to rebound at Ponderosa on Tuesday and then has a non-league date with Rampart on Saturday.
Highlands Ranch looks to stay alone in first by beating Douglas County on Tuesday and Ponderosa on Thursday.  The Falcons are coming off a huge win last week; beating Castle View in four sets.  Cassie Davis (20) and Kelsie Milkowski (19) combined for 39 kills in the victory.
Despite the loss, Castle View remained the number one team in the 5A rankings released on Monday.  They have a league match with ThunderRidge on Thursday but could also get pushed in a non-league date at Denver East on Tuesday night.
Mountain Vista is also in the league championship mix.  The Golden Eagles head to Heritage on Tuesday night in their only conference action of the week.  They’ve won three in a row since a tough five set loss to Castle View on September 19th.
Much of the focus in the Front Range is on the Thursday clash between Fort Collins and Fossil Ridge.  Ranked sixth, the Lambkins are unbeaten in league play (5-0) and tied with Legacy in first place.  The Sabercats are ninth in the 5A poll this week and due to an early league loss to Rocky Mountain sits one game off the pace.  The defending state champions are tied with Rocky Mountain and Horizon (all 5-1) in third entering the week.
Before Thursday’s match, both teams have league games with Fort Collins going to Loveland and Fossil Ridge staying home to meet Greeley West.
Fossil Ridge has won two straight since the loss to Rocky Mountain; beating Horizon in three and Broomfield in five sets.    Four juniors pace the Sabercats at the net.  Catie Semadeni is the team leader with 106 followed by Mataya Megson (89), Riley Zuhn (69) and Emily Wind (62).  Courtney Dix (191) and Tyler Lindgren (173) share setting duties and have combined for 364 assists on the season.
Fort Collins counters with the nice one-two punch of Hannah Serbousek (108) and Kaina Roehrkasse (92) with a combined 200 kills.  Taylor Rohr, with 63 kills, is third on the team and leads the club with 180 assists.  Sabrina Vandelist is next with 153.
Last year’s match went to Fossil Ridge in four sets.  Semadeni led the way with 18 kills and Zuhn added eight.  Serbousek was second on the Lambkins with seven kills and Roehrkasse added six.
Legacy heads to Horizon on Tuesday in another key league match.  For the co-leading Lightning, it’s their first conference match against one of the top five clubs.  Horizon lost a share of the league lead with a three-set loss to Fossil Ridge last week.
Should Cherry Creek and Cherokee Trail both gain wins on Tuesday, their showdown on Thursday will be for the outright lead in the Centennial.  Each enters the week 4-0 in conference play and two games better than all other challengers.  Creeks hosts Smoky Hill on Tuesday and the Cougars entertain Arapahoe.
Creek has dropped one set in league play beating Arapahoe 3-1 in their opener.  They’ve followed up with sweeps over Eaglecrest, Grandview and Mullen.  Leading hitter Katie Sherman had a team best 18 kills against Arapahoe and has combined for 31 in the last three victories.  Maya Borenstein has 30 kills over the same stretch.
Cherokee Trail was forced to five sets in their opening league win over Mullen but has not dropped a set since beating Overland, Eaglecrest and Smoky Hill.  Freshman Amaya Messier leads the Cougars with 129 kills including 42 in conference play.  Sophomore Sami Campion is next with 127 kills for the season including a combined 39 in league wins over Mullen and Eaglecrest.
It could also be a big week in the Jeffco for defending champion Chatfield.  The Chargers have road tests at Lakewood on Tuesday and Ralston Valley on Thursday.  Those opponents are a combined 3-0 in early league play and open the week tied with the Chargers and Columbine in a four-way tie for the lead.
Chatfield has not lost since falling to Castle View on September 12th.  Since the Chargers have reeled off six straight wins including a four-set win over Arvada West last week to open conference play.  Chatfield has won the last three against Lakewood and only one match (2014) has gone to five sets.
Lakewood has topped Dakota Ridge (3-2) and Pomona (3-0) in league play.  They’re seeking their first win over the Chargers since 2013.  Ralston Valley is below five hundred for the season (5-8) but seven of the losses are against top 10 teams from either 5A, 4A or 3A.  The exception came last week against Liberty (3-1) last week.
Fruita Monument moved to 12-1 and gained a big league win at Montrose (3-0) last week.  The Wildcats improved to 3-0 in league play and remain tied with Durango (4A) atop the conference.  Riley Snyder had 13 kills and Dana Thomson 12.  Truth Hafey handed out 31 assists against just two ball handling errors.
The Wildcats have just one match this week as they host Grand Junction Central on Tuesday.  Their first of two meetings with Durango is on the 13th.  They meet again on the 20th.  Durango heads to Montrose on Friday and Grand Junction Central on Saturday.
After three league games, Vista Peak and Rangeview (both 3-0) sit atop the East Metro.  The Bison face Adams City Tuesday and Gateway Thursday.  They’ll be favored in both.  Rangeview is home to Gateway Tuesday but could get challenged at Prairie View on Thursday.  Prairie View lost to Brighton last week and share third with the Bulldogs.
None of the pre-season favorites in the City League have played a conference match to date but that changes this week.  Denver East has the much anticipated match with Castle View on Tuesday but then opens City league action against Far Northeast two nights later.  Thomas Jefferson opens at Denver North, Denver South is home to Lincoln and George Washington meets Kennedy.  All three matches are Tuesday.
Doherty’s win over Fountain Fort Carson last week is the only league match played thus far in the Colorado Springs Metro.  Palmer (6-2) is considered a contender but the Terrors have a difficult opening week against Rampart (7-4) on Tuesday and Coronado (10-2) on Thursday.