The quality and depth of play inside the Continental has drawn most of the attention in Class 5A volleyball this year but with the entire league taking the week off, other clubs have a chance to step up and gain some headlines. A couple of other conferences have important matches set for this week that will help determine eventual league champions.
Four teams opened the week with one loss and tied for the Front Range lead. Fossil Ridge is one of them and they improved to 8-1 with their win over Fairview Monday night. The decision gives the Sabercats two more league wins than any other conference member.
The Sabercats climbed back into first place by downing Fort Collins in four sets last week. Riley Zuhn (16) and Catie Semadeni (15) combined for 31 kills as they helped hand the Lambkins their first conference loss. Fort Collins picked up 14 kills from Hannah Serbousek. Fossil Ridge goes to Boulder on Thursday for their next league match.
With last week’s loss, Fort Collins is one of three teams sitting at 6-1 entering this week. They’ll be favored at Broomfield on Tuesday night and against at home against Poudre on Thursday.
Rocky Mountain and Legacy are also 6-1 in conference play but at least one will fall out of first place when they collide on Tuesday night in Fort Collins. The Lobos have won four straight since their lone league loss to Fort Collins. Legacy dropped their first Front Range match last week in five sets at Fairview. Of the four leaders, the Lightning have the most difficult remaining schedule as they’ve yet to face either Fossil Ridge or Fort Collins. They meet them on the 17th and 19th respectively.
Eme McBride is the top hitter for Legacy but her 154 kills are just one better than Kylea Tallbear. Bailee Newman, with 110 kills, is a very good third option as well. Emma Quarles directs the offense and tops the Lightning with 549 assists.
In their six conference wins, Rocky Mountain has not dropped a set. The Lobos average nearly three aces per set and have five players in double figures. Leading the group is Carly Bowles with 29. She’s also second on the team in assists (174); trailing Myles Hilbert with 200. AnnaMarie Dodson tops the hit list with 118.
Tuesday’s winner between Chatfield and Columbine takes over sole possession of the Jeffco lead. Both clubs enter the match with identical 3-0 conference marks. The match starts a difficult week for Columbine as they also face Lakewood on Thursday. The Tigers and Ralston Valley share third place at 2-1. But Chatfield with a win, can basically sew up the league crown as they’ve already beaten the two third-place squads. Overall the Chargers have just two conference losses since the start of the 2014 season.
Taylor Cruz leads Columbine with 172 kills. She’s averaging almost 17 kills in conference play including a season high 19 in last week’s win over Bear Creek. Alea Tooley is next with 124 and she also recorded a season best against Bear Creek with 15.
Lakewood hosts Bear Creek on Tuesday before matching with Columbine on Thursday. Ralston Valley is away from home both nights; visiting Pomona and Arvada West.
Fruita Monument has a first place league battle on their schedule this week. The Wildcats host Durango on Friday and the two also meet again the following Friday. Both teams begin this week with perfect 4-0 league marks and while Durango doesn’t play until Friday, Fruita has a rematch scheduled with Montrose on Tuesday night. They clubbed the Indians in three sets earlier this year.
It should be a good match. Fruita has not lost a set in league play and Durango has dropped just one.
Riley Snyder (197) needs just three kills this week to reach 200 for the season. She’s the leading hitter for Fruita Monument. Dana Thomson is also having a good senior campaign with 167 kills.
Ally Snow, with 111 kills, and Brett Rowland with 109, pace the Demons attack. Brianna Brown has 343 assists on the season.
Both 5-0 and atop the East Metro conference, Vista Peak and Rangeview look to simply hold serve this week ahead of their head-to-head clash next week (Oct 19th). The Bison host Brighton on Tuesday and then go to Northglenn two nights later. Both opponents have just one league loss and share third place. Rangeview also battles Northglenn on Tuesday and then entertains Thornton on Thursday.
Denver East (5A) and Thomas Jefferson (4A) can lock up divisional crowns inside the City League this week. Thomas Jefferson is 2-0 and tied with G-W for the league lead there. They meet at George Washington on Thursday. Denver East and Denver South collide on Thursday as well. That match will determine the 5A league champion.
Standings from each division will be used to seed the crossover matches slated for next week. East and T-J are expected to meet for the overall championship once again.
Cherry Creek scored a huge 3-0 win over Cherokee Trail last week and that victory gives the Centennial championship to the Bruins. They finish league play at Overland on Thursday. Katie Sherman reeled off a dozen kills against the Cougars with Santana Monroe next with seven. Ashley Hand finished with 29 assists.
Cherokee Trail sits alone in second place but needs a win over Grandview on Thursday to win the position outright. Grandview is one of four league teams just one game back in third. Freshman Amaya Messer recorded 12 kills against Cherry Creek and Sydney Cole chipped in 24 assists.
This week marks the halfway point of the Colorado Springs Metro league schedule. Three teams have yet to suffer a league loss as Coronado and Rampart are 2-0 and Pine Creek 1-0. The lone match involving those three clubs head to head is Thursday when Pine Creek goes to Rampart. Coronado hosts Fountain Fort Carson on Tuesday and goes to Doherty on Thursday.
Rampart topped Palmer and Fountain Fort Carson in three sets apiece last week. Taylor Sibert led the team in hitting in both matches combining for 25 kills. Kira Warren added 10 in the win over Fountain Fort Carson. Haley McCorkle and Kyra Parker each compiled nine aces in the two league wins and together combined for 67 assists as well.
Pine Creek topped Fountain Fort Carson in three games last week as well. The Eagles allowed only 41 points overall and needed just 28 kills to get the win. The victory snapped a four match losing streak.
Highlands Ranch (6-0) is the lone remaining unbeaten in the Continental but as mentioned the entire league takes this week off. Castle View, Mountain Vista and Chaparral share second place at 5-1 with Rock Canyon (5-2) and Legend (4-2) splitting fifth place.
Of the top contenders, Castle View has the easiest remaining schedule. They close with Chaparral but before are matches against three lower division clubs. By contract, Chaparral and Mountain Vista each have four remaining matches and all are against teams in the top six. Highlands Ranch has Mountain Vista, Chaparral and Rock Canyon left.
REGIONAL TOURNAMENT QUALIFIERS
As we approach mid-October teams are not only thinking league championships but positioning for the post-season. RPI standings are used to select and seed the 36 regional tournament qualifiers. Based on RPI standings from Monday October 9th, each conference would have the following qualifiers. League champions qualify even if they finish outside the top 36.
- CONTINENTAL: Castle View, Highlands Ranch, Mountain Vista, Rock Canyon, Legend, Chaparral, ThunderRidge, Douglas County,
- FRONT RANGE: Fossil Ridge, Rocky Mountain, Fort Collins, Legacy, Loveland, Horizon, Fairview, Boulder
- CS METRO: Coronado, Rampart, Pine Creek, Liberty, Palmer,
- JEFFCO: Chatfield, Ralston Valley, Lakewood, Columbine, Dakota Ridge,
- SOUTHWEST: Fruita Monument, Grand Junction
- CENTENNIAL: Cherry Creek, Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest, Arapahoe, Grandview,
- CITY: Denver East, Denver South,
- EAST METRO: Rangeview