DENVER – After taking the first set from Lewis-Palmer, a feeling of belief sunk in with the Cheyenne Mountain players. The Red-Tailed Hawks used that newfound confidence to propel them to their biggest win of the year.

The 25-23, 19-25, 25-21, 26-24 win over the Rangers put the Hawks directly into the Class 4A state quarterfinals and put No. 1-seeded L-P just one loss away from elimination.

This was the third match of the year between the two PPAC rivals and the first time that the Hawks came out with the win. It took two hard lessons, but the Hawks (17-9 overall) finally figured out how how to overcome a team that they’ve played competitively all season, but was never on the winning side of.

“We were hungry for it,” coach Ellen Cross said. “We’ve been playing the best volleyball that we’ve played all year and now is the time to be peaking.”

The diversity of the attack played a major role in the Hawks moving on to the quarterfinals. Anna Blamires, Makenna Parthen, Landry Roberts and Brynn Ressler put down crucial kills at various times and kept the Rangers slightly off balance defensively.

A reason for that was the Hawks’ willingness to learn from their mistakes. They dove into the film of the first two losses in order to develop a game plan that would ensure the third time would be the charm.

“The first set we finally put what we studied against them into action,” Blamires said. “We kept putting pressure on them and it got in their heads and they didn’t know what to do with it.”

Cheyenne Mountain moves into the 2 p.m. match against Thompson Valley. The winner automatically moves on to the semifinals while the loser gets another chance to get there through the other side of the double-elimination bracket.

The key for Cheyenne Mountain moving on is making sure that the win against the Rangers wasn’t their peak moment of the tournament.

“We have to keep them grounded,” Cross said. “Yes, this is a big win, but this team is hungrier for this than any team I’ve ever coached.”


Class 2A

(Dan Mohrmann/

Perhaps no team at any level is riding the wave that Burlington is on right now. The Cougars entered regionals as a long shot team to even qualify for the state tournament.

As the No. 30 seed, they went 2-0 at the Region 7 tournament to ear a ticket to the Denver Coliseum. Just making it wasn’t good enough. They beat Strasburg in five sets in their opening match at the 2A state tournament then took the first two sets from two-time defending champion Sedgwick County.

Sedgwick County battled back to take the next two, but it was Burlington pulling it out for the five-set win, 26-24, 25-17, 21-25, 18-25, 15-8.

Burlington got a huge boost with the return of Kiyarra Williams, who missed most of the season with an ankle injury. She returned at regionals and since then, she and her team have looked impressive.

“We’re just so used to playing together going from basketball to volleyball,” Williams said. “When one of us is out, it’s hard. We’re doing it this year for our seniors. We’re not going to be with them forever.”

The Cougars return to the court on Friday to take on Limon, who beat No. 2 Rye. Wiggins and Plateau Valley will meet in the other matchup of undefeated teams.


Class 5A

Of the four teams that entered the state tournament with a bye, only one advanced to the quarterfinals. Valor Christian dropped the first set to Grandview, but the Eagles rallied to get a 30-32, 25-20, 25-15, 25-16 win over the Wolves.

From a seeding standpoint, the win was expected, but this was the only match where the top seed advancing held up. Mountain Vista beat Legend 3-1, Pine Creek swept Rock Canyon and Fossil Ridge beat Chaparral 3-1.

Three of the top four seeds in the 5A tournament are now a loss away from elimination.


Class 1A

Unlike the 5A tournament, the favorites in 1A held up their end of the bargain. Merino, Stratton, McClave and Simla all head into Day 2 of the tournament without a loss.

In fact, between those four teams, they dropped just a single set all day. Weldon Valley was able to take one from McClave, but the Cardinals fared well in the other three and moved on.


Class 3A

After dropping two sets to Colorado Springs Christian, Resurrection Christian woke up. The Cougars battled back to beat the Lions 16-25, 24-26, 25-16, 25-19, 15-1 and then had no problem beating Jefferson Academy to get into the 3A quarterfinals.

They’ll be back on the court at 3:30 p.m. Friday against Eaton – who got win No. 300 for coach Gwen Forster – while Platte Valley and Delta will clash in the other quarterfinal match.