COLORADO SPRINGS – Winning a high-stakes tournament two weeks ahead of the girls volleyball state tournament isn’t necessarily satisfying for Valor Christian.

If anything, it only serves as an appetizer for the main course the Eagles hope to devour at the Denver Coliseum. After wins over Woodland Park, Eaton and Thompson Valley, the Eagles battled to a 3-1 win over Palmer Ridge to claim the Colorado Invite.

Formerly known as the Cheyenne Mountain Invite, this is a tournament that the Eagles feel gives them the best preparation for the Class 5A state tournament.

“I like coming to this tournament on this weekend because it’s (win) three out of five and you play two matches a day,” Eagles coach Jayne McHugh said. “At regionals, you have to play two three out of five matches. At state for two, maybe three days in a row you’re going to play two, or even three matches a day. This is a test of their conditioning and fortitude.”

And it’s a test of their talent. The depth of talented teams at this tournament is second to none in the state. The defending 5A and 4A champions in Cherry Creek and Thompson Valley, as well as traditional powerhouses such as Lewis-Palmer, Palmer Ridge, Eaton and Grandview also made the trek.

But instead of playing in two gyms at Cheyenne Mountain High School, they occupied seven courts at the Broadmoor World Arena.

(Dan Mohrmann/

That allowed for a bigger field and tougher competition.

“It has helped a lot,” outside hitter Erin McNair said. “I think it helped to be back in this arena. We had a lot of redemption to get from last year’s Cheyenne Mountain tournament and from state. We were determined to come in here and fight and give it our all.”

For the most part, the Eagles flat dominated their opponents. They dropped just one set all weekend and it was the first set in the championship match against Fossil Ridge.

“That was the first set we had lost since Fossil Ridge back in September,” McHugh said.

And it was just the third overall set the Eagles had lost all year. They get to travel home content as the Colorado Invite champions, but still understand that their work is far from over this season.

“It’s a confidence boost, but we’re still hungry to do even better,” McNair said. “We’re still hungry to sweep teams and not let it go to four (sets). This helps us have confidence but we’re not ready to settle.”

Valor currently holds the No. 1 seed in the CHSAA Selection and Seeding Index which determines the playoff field. Regional brackets are set to be released on Monday and teams will play their regional tournaments next weekend. And if the Eagles aren’t ready to settle, then they should be playing in a tournament with a similar atmosphere as the Colorado Invite. Only this one will take place at the Denver Coliseum.