Several important matchups can be found on the Thursday volleyball slate with none more important than the lone regular season pairing of Cherry Creek and Grandview. Ranked 1-2 in Class 5A, the winner makes a strong argument to earn the top overall playoff seed. Resurrection Christian and Liberty Common also clash for the outright lead in the 3A Patriot and Briggsdale-Wiley is a very good top five matchup in Class 1A.
Three quality teams get together in Hugo tonight as the 10th ranked Pirates welcome in both 3rd ranked Wiley and 4th ranked Briggsdale. Genoa Hugo and Wiley were regularly scheduled for the matchup tonight but Briggsdale came on board when they need to find two more matches after Peetz suspended their program for the season due to low numbers. Neither match is a conference game but results will play a role in RPI and playoff seeding.
Wiley is unbeaten (8-0) on the season and features two excellent hitters in Demi Wollert (58 kills) and Fatima Gomez (47). Wollert also tops the Panthers with 78 assists and Grace White has 73.
Briggsdale (11-2) has sole possession of the North Central league but must still get by Fleming a second time before winning the championship outright. That rematch is October 8th. They’ve won four straight since a loss to Sedgwick County (3-1). Kylie Krise (139 kills) and Courtney Krise (108) are their first options at net.
Genoa Hugo (8-3) will match up with Wiley only and have won four of their last five matches. That includes an extensive five-set win over Burlington on Tuesday. The Pirates won sets two and three and then game five 15-10.
- Briggsdale over Wiley 3-1
- Wiley swept Genoa Hugo 3-0
Sedgwick County and 1A Haxtun both remain unbeaten in league play and share the top spot in the Lower Platte. Merino and Wiggins are the next two teams in line in the standings and they collide tonight in what should be a great match as the Rams are ranked number one in 1A and the Tigers third in Class 2A. Wiggins has already lost to both Sedgwick County and Haxtun so even with a win, their best league finish is likely third. Merino fell to Sedgwick County in five sets for their only loss of the season and have yet to play Haxtun. A win tonight keeps them in position to possibly share the league championship with one or both the Cougars and Bulldogs.
Highland and Gilpin County face off tonight inside the Mile High. Both are 4-1 in league play and part of a four-team logjam for second place with Dayspring Christian and Lyons. All four sit one game back of Denver Christian (5-0) in the standings. Gilpin County (6-8) suffered their league loss to Heritage Christian last week but bounce back to sweep Dawson this week. Highland (6-4) is coming off a 3-1 loss to Lyons on Tuesday that knocked them out of a first place tie with Denver Christian.
Custer County can clinch the West Central championship and a playoff berth by beating 1A Cotopaxi on Thursday. The Bobcats (6-2) have won both conference contests and another over the Pirates gives them a clean sweep through the four-team league. Cotopaxi (7-4) will be a tough out despite a 3-2 loss to South Park last Thursday. The Pirates create a three-way with South Park and Custer County if they score the win tonight.
- Wiggins blanked Merino 3-0
- Custer County topped Cotopaxi 3-0
- Yuma downed Limon 3-0
A huge matchup inside the Patriot tonight as #1 Resurrection Christian meets #4 Liberty Common. They’re the last two unbeatens in the conference so the winner will grab the outright lead. The Cougars were scheduled to face Lutheran on Tuesday night but that match was postponed when two students, including a volleyball player, were hit by a drunk driver. One girl has been released but the other remains in critical condition. We checked with the school and confirmed the match with Liberty Common will be played.
The Cougars have dropped only two sets the entire season; one to 4A Thompson Valley in the season opener and another to Platte Valley in conference play. They’ve already moved past University and Sterling in the Patriot so a win tonight puts them in great shape for no worse than a top two finish. They face Eaton on October 26th.
Liberty Common (12-0) has had a fantastic year as well but they’ve yet to face any of the high level clubs in conference play. League wins are against Frontier Academy, Valley and Strasburg so matches with Eaton, University and Sterling are still on the schedule following tonight’s battle. They’ve lost only four sets the entire year; two to 4A Berthoud in match one and then one apiece to Faith Christian and Valley.
#5 Lutheran (9-2) sees their first action of the week as they host Peak to Peak. The Lions are heavily favored but the Pumas enter at 8-2 and 2-0 in conference play. They’re tied with the Lions and Faith Christian atop the Metro and an upset this evening gives them a strong shot at landing the championship. They’ve won six in a row since a 3-0 loss to Liberty Common; a streak that includes league wins over Kent Denver (3-2) and Machebeuf (3-0).
Lutheran has just one loss in-state and that came against Eaton on September 16th (3-1). They’ve since swept Kent Denver and Colorado Academy for their two league victories.
- Lutheran swept Peak to Peak 3-0
- Resurrection Christian handled Liberty Common 3-0
Just one match of note on the Thursday but’s a doozy as top ranked Palmer Ridge visits Discovery Canyon. The Bears are the defending state champions but the Thunder are also coming off a state tournament appearance. Some of the luster from the matchup was lost on Tuesday when Discovery Canyon was beaten by Cheyenne Mountain (3-1). That loss knocked the Thunder out of a first place tie; leaving Palmer Ridge sharing the top spot with 5A clubs Rampart and Pine Creek.
Palmer Ridge (11-1) is favored. Discovery Canyon enters the match at five hundred with six wins and six losses.
- Palmer Ridge blanked Discovery Canyon 3-1
It’s Cherry Creek against Grandview tonight and it’s always important when the two Centennial rivals clash. Maybe even more so this year as it’s the lone regular season meeting between the two unless they battle again in the Centennial league tournament at the end of the year. As they collide tonight, Cherry Creek is ranked number one in Colorado and Grandview number two. They’re a combined 21-1 so the winner has the inside track to the top overall playoff seed and it’s highly probable the winner lands the Centennial crown as well.
Serving on the undercard in the Centennial is another important match between Cherokee Trail and Eaglecrest. The Raptors are ranked 10th and join Cherry Creek and Grandview at 2-0 in the Centennial standings. They’ve beaten Smoky Hill and Overland in straight sets to share the top spot and a win tonight keeps them tied with the Creek-Grandview winner in first.
Cherokee Trail (6-5) has been in and out of the top 10 this year and won their conference opener with Overland. They were then swept by Grandview on Tuesday and now sit a game back. In such a good league, a second early loss may end their league title hopes but expect the Cougars to make the 36-team regional bracket rather easily.
Over in the Jeffco, we find two attractive pairings between Ralston Valley-Chatfield and Columbine-Valor Christian. Most likely, these four clubs will end in spots 1-4 at seasons end so results from the two matches will help determine the order.
Ralston Valley and Valor Christian (both 2-0) share the lead with Bear Creek (3-0). The Eagles have a high quality 3-2 win over Chatfield which leaves the Chargers (1-1) one game off the pace and tied with Columbine in fourth. Columbine is coming off a loss to Chatfield (3-0) on Tuesday. Ralston Valley downed Pomona last week and Lakewood this week; both wins coming in 3-0 sweeps.
In their quest to land the East Metro crown, Brighton (8-2) scored an important win over Rangeview last Saturday (3-0) and now they seek another against Westminster tonight. The Wolves have won 10 of 14 games overall but tonight’s battle is their first league game. It’s a huge test for Westy but a win suddenly makes them the favorite to win the championship.
A second interesting matchup has Rangeview looking to bounce back from the Brighton loss by challenging Hinkley. The T-Birds are 12-0 overall and have won 36 of 40 sets this year but the matchup with the Raiders represents their toughest challenge. But like Westminster, a win makes Hinkley a serious league championship contender.
Broomfield (13-2) and Monarch (6-4) are two of three teams that have opened 3-0 in Front Range league play. The Eagles and Coyotes meet tonight and the winner will stay tied with Fossil Ridge in first place. The Sabercats also get tested by Fort Collins.
Broomfield has won six straight since a loss to Cherry Creek. Their other loss is to Ralston Valley but they’ve also toppled Highlands Ranch, Lakewood and Chatfield. They dropped a set to Fort Collins in league match #1 but followed up with sweeps of Loveland and Horizon. Monarch has not played the same level of schedule but they’ve won three league matches over Boulder, Poudre and Fairview since falling to Brighton (3-1) on September 10th. Those conference wins all came by 3-0 sweeps.
- Valor Christian topped Columbine 3-0
- Ralston Valley downed Chatfield 3-1
- Rangeview beat Hinkley 3-0
- Broomfield rolled Monarch 3-0