A new feature from the Colorado Preps Network involves a weekly look back at the top news from the volleyball courts. And this is a great week to start as three defending state champions were upset over the past seven days. Yuma (2A) was swept at Sedgwick County on Tuesday, Lewis Palmer (4A) was taken out by Grandview on Thursday and then on Friday, Kit Carson (1A) came up short to La Veta.
The losses are extremely rare for all three schools. For Yuma, it was their Lower Platte league loss since 2013 and just their fourth overall setback in the past three years. The Indians have played in the last five state championship matches with two titles. Lewis Palmer entered the match with Grandview having won 87 of their last 88 matches with three consecutive crowns in Class 4A. Kit Carson is the two-time defending state champion in Class 1A and the loss to La Veta was just their third since the start of the 2016 season (86-3).
We have audio recaps from two of the three matches. We spoke with our big school volleyball expert Mary Kay Mauro as she was on hand to watch Grandview topple Lewis Palmer.
The Rangers will have little time to think about the loss as they challenge 5A #2 Chaparral on Tuesday. The Wolverines have beaten Grandview twice already this season.
Last week, we also had a chance to visit with Sedgwick County coach Kayla Redfern following the Cougars win over Yuma.
Kit Carson and La Veta were ranked 1-2 in Class 1A before their showdown and most likely those two will exchange positions when the new polls are released on Monday. The battle also served as a rematch of last year’s state championship game won by Kit Carson in four sets. In that contest, La Veta gave up a nine point lead in the decisive third set but this time around it was the Redskins who put together the rally. Kit Carson won two of the first three sets, but La Veta grabbed a tough 25-18 win in game four and then took set five 15-6.
Nya Sciacca paced La Veta with 24 kills and 24 digs. Desi Ortivez added 20 kills and Aryanna Flores provided 24 digs. Mary Goins directed the attack and finished with 41 assists. Kit Carson collected 16 kills from Cally Rady and 26 digs from Tieler Randel. Reyna Isenbart added 25 assists and six kills. Allison Geleker also provided six kills.
A fourth defending state champion, Lutheran, was nearly added to the list but they survived a wild five-setter with fellow 3A power Valley. The Vikings worked to a 2-1 lead only to watch the Lions win the final two sets 25-19 and 16-14. Returning Player of the Year, Payton Brgoch did not play for the Lions but they picked up a team best 16 kills from Audrey Brgoch and a dozen from Kennedey Johnson. Bella Vezzani added 33 digs. Sabrina King finished with 26 assists and Lexi Wilmoth 18
Valley was led by Delany Eckhardt with 20 kills, 20 digs and 19 assists. Sophomore Tabor Flanagan added 18 kills and freshman Taeya Jimenez provided 21 assists.
In what should be another early season test, Lutheran returns to the court on Tuesday against Resurrection Christian. The Cougars will be coming off a difficult three set loss to Faith Christian last week. Allure Padilla led the Eagles with 31 assists while sophomore Caty Havekost led the attack with 10 kills. Makenna Hachen had eight and Emilie Eggers seven. Rachel May had 10 digs.
One other note in Class 3A involves St Mary’s. The Pirates are now under the direction of David Barkley who captured several state championships at Cheyenne Mountain. They won their season opener against Trinidad (3-1) behind 17 kills from Seneca Hackley and 12 from Jillian Kellick. Rachel Wilcox was very effective with five aces and Alexa LaMack handed out 54 assists.
With Yuma dropping their league opener to Sedgwick County, the Lower Platte chase is now considered wide open. Two of the top challenges are Wiggins and Akron. The top 10 rivals collided last Tuesday with Wiggins scoring a three-set win. Paige Finegan had 11 kills and Bre Gilliland nine. Jenna White had 11 digs and 22 assists.
In Class 2A, top ranked Denver Christian should remain atop the polls as they captured the Glenwood Springs Tournament title for a second straight year. And they beat 3A power Alamosa in the semifinals and 4A ranked Mead in the championship contest. They won both matches in two quick sets (best of three format). Looking at the upcoming schedule, it’s a safe bet to believe the Thunder will be a perfect 10-0 when the line up against fellow top five member Limon on September 27th.
Meeker is a returning state semifinalist and they opened their season with a 3-1 showing at the West Grand Tournament. The Cowgirls survived Calhan in five sets, then rolled Peyton and Clear Creek in straight sets before falling to Cedaredge (3-0) in the finals. Julia Dinwiddie finished the day with a team best 59 kills and freshman Emma Luce added 29. Rebecca Steerman (75) and Addie Joy (66) shared time at setter and combined for 141 assists in the four matches.
Merino (1A) captured a tournament championship on Saturday as they rolled to four wins at the Northeastern Junior College event in Sterling. In a top 10 pairing, the Rams took care of Otis in three sets in the championship match. Brooke Mertens had 13 kills and Taysa Conger a dozen to pace the Rams. They have just one loss this season (Briggsdale) and have a big showdown with Limon coming up on September 24th. Otis, which remains favored to win their conference championship despite the loss, picked up 10 kills from Becca Bleak.
Our partners at the Eastern Plains Sports Network and KPMX radio were on hand for the Merino-Otis championship match. You can listen to the entire contest on demand here.
Four teams from the North Central conference entered last week inside the 1A Top 10 and those four clubs squared off in early conference play. #10 Prairie upended #6 Weldon Valley in four sets on Tuesday and #4 Briggsdale also worked four sets in downing #3 Fleming.
Senior Hannah Kinnison powered down 30 kills in her first game back from injury for Prairie. Emma Stump added 11 kills and a team high four aces. Makayla Baker handed out 46 assists.
Statistics from the Briggsdale-Fleming matchup have not been posted to MaxPreps. Briggsdale and Prairie tangle in another important league clash coming up this Friday. Each team in the North Central plays the others twice so rematches of all the battles will take place later in the year.
In Class 5A, #8 Fairview and #10 Chatfield competed for five sets last Tuesday before the Knights gained the hard-fought victory. They won game five 15-9. Grace Andrews (17) and Devyn Berg (12) combined for 29 kills and Sam Anthony dished out 44 of the teams’ 45 assists.