As we teased earlier today, the Tuesday night volleyball includes several highly anticipated contests with many of them possibly determining league championships. Outcomes from others will help seed the regional tournament bracket across all classes. Colorado Preps looks at 15 such battles in our Tuesday preview.
Photo provided by Dean Boeckman / Montezuma Cortez.
Fleming (6-0) at Sedgwick County (6-0) – Fleming won 3-0
Not a conference pairing but it could be a battle of future league champions as Fleming will be in the 1A North Central title mix and Sedgwick County could push for the 1A/2A Lower Platte title. Both also have thoughts of the top overall seed in their respective division. Fleming is ranked second in 1A RPI with Sedgwick County sitting in the same spot for Class 2A. And to continue the similarities, Fleming is ranked number one in their class and Sedgwick County fourth in 2A. The Wildcats are 2-0 against the Lower Platte this year; beating Yuma (3-0) and Wiggins (3-2) as part of the Kit Carson tournament in wee one. This past week, they quickly swept three opponents; Peetz, Weldon Valley and Lone Star. Kally Kirkwood (101) and Whitney Chintala (76) have already combined for 177 kills and Kendyl Kirkwood has popped up 179 assists. The defending state champs also have 54 aces on the season including 15 from Chintala and 14 from Samantha Pope. Chintala also tops the Wildcats with 126 diggs and Madisyn Serrato is next with 78. Sedgwick County continues their rugged early schedule that has already included quality wins over Merino (3-2), Holyoke (3-2), Haxtun (3-2) and Yuma (3-1) in league play. Gabrielle Powell (45 kills), Jensen Renquist (34), Kierra Ehnes (32) and Alison Woodhams (27) are their top hitters. Whitney Walter (65 assists) and Woodhams (58) share setting duties with Renquist (55 diggs) and Walter (50) the top defenders thus far. The Cougars also have 39 aces including a team-high 17 from Ehnes.
Stratton/Liberty (5-0) vs Flagler (4-1) – Stratton/Liberty won 3-0
Not many miles separate these two rivals along I-70 as the outcome will impact the regional bracket seeding. Stratton/Liberty has jumped to fifth in the most recent RPI standing with Flagler a bit farther down in 15th. Both teams have been impressive out of the gate. The Knighted Eagles have toppled both Otis and 2A Limon while the Panthers lone loss is against 2A Byers. They’ve also scored a win over Otis. Flagler’s offense is centered on Katelynn Klann as she leads the Panthers with 64 kills. Syndie Santala and Skyler Hawks are next with 24 and 23 respectively. Freshman Jaylie Stone has a team-best 80 assists. Klann also tops the defense with 76 diggs but Hawks (68) and Stone (65) are also major contributors. Kennedy Frank is the top offensive option for Stratton/Liberty. She has 71 kills. McKenna Notter is next with 44 followed by Hannah Rigirozzi (36) and Lucero Ontiveros (35). Mattie Crouse is a senior setter with 165 assists and classmate Crystal Bouchier paces the defense with 129 diggs.
Kit Carson (3-3) at McClave (7-0) – Kit Carson won 3-0
The winner here should land the 1A High Plains league championship and the guaranteed playoff berth that goes with it. McClave may be the most tired team in Class 1A. Not only have they played seven matches already; five of them have gone five sets. That includes two wins over Walsh and Cheraw last Thursday and Friday. The Cardinals also swept Granada and Holly as part of a long four-match week. Mariah Enciso has 40 kills; McKayla Kiniston (36), Edith Mungaray (33) and Tehya Dickerson (29) as the Cardinals spread the ball around on offense. Directing all those hitters is Gentry Martin; she leads the Cardinals with 118 assists. On defense, Ciara Solia leads the way with 58 diggs. Kit Carson has also been on the court often and has battled with some of the top teams in Colorado including losses to 2A rivals Wiggins and Rocky Ford along with 1A #4 Wiley. They too feature balance at the net with the top four hitters; Tess Johnson (44), Stephanie Framel (42), Cally Booker-Rady (38) and Kenzie Waggoner (33) all over 30 kills. Allison Gekeler (79 assists) and Sedonia Isenbart (52) both see time at setter. Tieler Randel is the defense leader as she’s already collected 202 diggs.
Briggsdale (3-2) at Weldon Valley (5-2) – Briggsdale won 3-0
Another important match inside the rugged 1A North Central where the host Warriors need a win to stay in the championship race. Weldon Valley has already lost a conference game to top ranked Fleming so another setback likely leaves them no better than third place at years’ end. Their second loss is also against a number one team as they fell to 2A Wiggins last week as well. Briggsdale has also played a tough schedule with losses coming to 3A powers University and Platte Valley. They challenge Fleming on April 9th so a win tonight likely sets that one up as the conference championship match. Kylie Krise (38) leads the Falcons in kills with Jenna Krise (28) second and Macie Klemm (20) third. Jenna (49) and Kylie (43) are first and third in diggs with Shelby Hoffman in between with 45. Courtney Krise tops the team with 86 assists.
Byers (5-1) at Calhan (5-1) – Byers won 3-1
Not a conference game but the outcome will be very important to Class 2A RPI standings. Byers is 4th in the rankings updated this morning with Calhan fifth. Both teams suffered their only loss to Simla. Calhan opened with a 3-1 setback to the #2 Cubs (1A) but has won four straight matches including a quality five-set victory over Elbert last Saturday. The Bulldogs rallied from 2-1 down to capture that win including a 15-12 decision in game five. Seniors Lainey Clark (41) and Sadie Taylor (40) have combined for 81 kills with classmate Jaiden Monger (139 assists) setting them up. Monger (95) and Taylor (92) are also 1-2 in diggs. Byers opened with five straight wins before a 3-1 loss to Simla last Friday. Symantha Linnebur went for 10 kills in the loss; Gillian Sickendick had eight and Janette Hernandez six. Hernandez and Linnebur each had five aces and freshman Annette Earl collected four.
Sargent (5-0) vs Del Norte (4-3) – Del Norte won 3-1
With Del Norte coming off a solid 3-1 win over Sanford last week and Sargent unbeaten on the season, this winner could end up with the 2A Santa Fe league championship. Del Norte’s win over Sanford did not come easy as the Tigers lost game one 31-29 and then battled for wins in three tight sets (25-20, 27-25 and 25-20) to grab the important conference win. The win finished off a tough week for the Tigers who split two earlier matches against ranked opponents; sweeping Dolores and falling to Sangre De Cristo in three. For Sargent, this match begins a brutal week as they will also face three ranked teams in tournament play on Saturday; meeting Lamar, Fowler and Limon. They entered the 2A rankings at number nine this week and have not lost a set the entire season but this will be their most difficult challenge to date.
Fowler (4-1) at Rye (4-1) – postponed
Both clubs are unbeaten in league play and tied with Rocky Ford atop the 2A Santa Fe conference. Fowler has grabbed four straight sweeps after falling to 3A unbeaten Manitou Springs to start the season. Since the Grizzlies also host Rocky Ford on Thursday, the next three days should determine their conference standing. Kaley Pieper is the top hitter with 49 kills but there is plenty of balance up front with Emily Flanscha (38), Emerson Mason (33) and Tannice Wetzel (25). Senior Ryanna Pruett is also a veteran setter and has chalked up 139 assists through five matches. Rye must quickly rebound from a tough five set loss to 3A Vanguard on Saturday. They led the contest two sets to none but could not finish it out as they lost the final three sets 17-25, 17-25 and 11-15. The Thunderbolts also worked five sets to earn their last win; downing Hoehne last Thursday. Morgan Elarton and AJ Ramos each had five kills in that crucial league win. Gracie Graham had four aces and 47 diggs.
Bayfield (4-2) at Montezuma Cortez (6-0) – Cortez won 3-0
Round two of the 3A Intermountain league schedule begins for both clubs. Montezuma Cortez (4-0) stands alone in first with a one game edge on Alamosa (3-1). Bayfield (2-2) sits in third and probably must win tonight to remain in the league championship discussion. Cortez won the first matchup in four but the contest was very close. Both teams finished with 43 kills. Avery Wright paced the Panthers with 17 and Myka Glover added eight. Bayfield picked up 17 from Annette Fusco and nine apiece from Brooke Merchant and Melissa Roberts. Cortez had the edge at the service line; collecting six aces to just two for Bayfield. Devon McHenry led the Panthers with three. Amber Wood had a team high 23 diggs for Cortez and Emily Nelson 10 to top the Wolverines. Adezdiin Boeckman finished with 35 assists for the Panthers and Sage Killough 34 for Bayfield.
Manitou Springs (3-0) at Lamar (4-0) – Lamar won 3-0
Still early in the Tri Peaks chase but the Mustangs (2-0) and Savages (4-0) are two of the remaining four conference unbeatens; joining St Mary’s (2-0) and Vanguard (1-0) atop the standings. Manitou Springs has momentum from a four-set win over Colorado Springs Christian last Thursday but despite that win, they did not crack the top 10 in Class 3A this week. Against the Lions, Avah Armour had 12 kills, Mahlia Glass and Grace Allen contributed eight and Ayla Flett had seven. That balance carried over to the service line as Glass had four aces, Flett three and Allen, Alexia Vigil and Ashlyn Thompson had two apiece. Vigil handed out 34 assists. Lamar has not dropped a set in winning four league matches but this will be their first test against a top tier league opponent. Sydnee Dunning (53) and Fernanda Merancio (51) have combined for 104 kills in those four wins. Dunning also leads the team with 25 aces and 37 diggs. The Savages, as a group, have 117 kills with Abby Robbins earning 97 of them.
Eaton (3-0) at University (5-0) – Eaton won 3-1
Great tradition in this matchup and as always, the outcome has a major impact on the Patriot league championship and a very high seed in the 3A state tournament. Eaton is currently 11th in 3A RPI and University 13th but both expect a move up through the second half of the season and each will have a chance to host a regional tournament later this month. The Reds already have conference wins over Platte Valley (3-1) and Sterling (3-2) so a win this evening likes leave them no worse than second in the league standings. They don’t face Resurrection Christian until April 21st. In the five-set win over Sterling last Saturday, Sydney Leffler put down 17 kills and Abbey Hays 12. Leffler and Rylee Martin each finished with 20 diggs and Martin dished out 36 assists. University has beaten Resurrection Christian (3-1) in conference play where they collected 11 kills from Taylor Viken and nine from Kylie Williams. Logan Conlin earned four aces and Daryn Whitmoyer three. Caitlin Harr had 24 diggs and Williams 21.
Coronado (4-0) at Woodland Park (6-0) – Coronado won 3-1
Probably should be a top 10 battle but for some reason Woodland Park did not stay in the 4A rankings this week. They’ve been there most of the season and despite opening with six straight wins, they lost ground in the statewide polling. Both clubs are also unbeaten in the 4A/5A Colorado Springs Metro South so the winner will grab sole possession of the league lead and likely ends up with the conference crown at season’s end. The Panthers have played just one match longer than three sets as they were forced to four in an early win over Harrison. Since that match, they’ve swept Canon City, Widefield, Mesa Ridge and Palmer. There is depth up front as five Panthers have at least 20 kills. Trinity McAbee has 45 kills to lead the group followed by Grace McClintock (33), Kyra Kidd (29), Allie Tring (27) and Kyla Wells (20). Coronado has beaten many of the same clubs and have won all 12 sets played including a sweep of Harrison. Maycie Rogers tops the offense with 32 kills and Millie Leonard 24. Stacia Smith, with 33 diggs, is a top defender while Rachel Scott has 55 assists against just six errors.
Classical Academy (4-1) at Falcon (5-0) – Classical Academy won 3-0
While Coronado and Woodland Park clash for the CS Metro South lead, the Titans and Falcons get together to decide first place in the Northern division. Both are 3-0 in league play and lead Sierra by one game in the current standings. Falcon is playing their second game of the week as they moved past Sand Creek in four on Monday. Kaitlyn Hall had 15 kills and Rylee Pitts 14 in the win. Hall also had four assists and 16 diggs. Grace Yoder had 21 diggs to top that list and both Ashton Brewer and Jayden Austermiller each finished with 21 assists. TCA’s only loss came against top ranked Palmer Ridge in the season opener but they’ve won all four matches since including a nice four setter over Air Academy. They also played Sand Creek last Thursday and beat the Scorpions in three. Hope Storm registered 15 kills. Bethany Harris finished with team highs in diggs (12) and assists (16).
Palmer Ridge (7-0) at Pine Creek (3-0) – Palmer Ridge won 3-0
An elimination game in the race for the coveted 4A/5A Pikes Peak conference championship. The two unbeatens are tied with Cheyenne Mountain for the top spot. Palmer Ridge is favored. They’re ranked #1 in Class 4A and have been dominant in racing to seven straight sweeps. That includes a sweep of 7th ranked Discovery Canyon in their most recent action last Thursday. Madison Wilson got 14 kills and Evan Larochelle a dozen. Riley Anderson added nine as the Bears outhit the Thunder 43-24 overall. Kyra Kisting chipped in 37 assists. Pine Creek hasn’t played in eight days as they swept Lewis Palmer on April 29th for their latest victory. Hailey Aigner (15) and Ameila Nott (13) combined for 28 kills. The Eagles also earned 15 aces including five from Aigner and three apiece from Talia Grier, Mikayla Hinton and Kira Cid. Cid also added 37 diggs.
Holy Family (4-0) at Mead (1-0) – Mead won 3-1
Three teams from the Northern conference are ranked in Class 4A this week and the Tigers and Mavericks are two of them. Mead is sixth and Holy Family ninth. Both are unbeaten in early conference play and sit tied with #4 Windsor atop the standings. That makes this match very important to the league championship picture. Mead has not played since April 23rd as they moved past Silver Creek (3-1) in their only match to date. Quincey Cole had 14 kills, Morgan Munro nine and Kenzie Morton eight. Munro added three blocks and Hailee Martinez had four aces. Holy Family won three matches last week; beating 5A Legacy and Greeley West along with Centaurus. Those wins pushed them into the statewide rankings this week and another win tonight will keep them moving upward. Anna Hodel (33 kills), Kaley Roller (28), Allie Ward (24) and Makenna Bertsch (23) pace a balanced Holy Family offense.
Cherokee Trail (6-1) at Grandview (5-2) – Cherokee Trail won 3-2
Halfway through the conference schedule, the Centennial chase is very tight and both the Cougars and Wolves have high championship hopes. Cherokee Trail is tied with Cherry Creek (both 6-1) in first place with Grandview (5-2) a game back in third. It’s their second meeting this year as the Cougars took the first meeting rather easily 25-13, 25-13 and 25-14. The Cougars had 27 kills to just 16 for Grandview. Amaya Messier paced C-Trail with ten. Messier was also one of three Cougars with two aces as they churned out six in the win compared to just one for the Wolves. On defense, Maddie Cooley and Gabi Maas each had 12 for Cherokee Trai, Regan Unruh had nine for Grandview.