If the Dungeon was a shed, it would be filled with power tools for Fairview volleyball coach Brooke Simmons.
After all, she's got two Division-I players and a Division-II player in her starting lineup.
And the Knights (0-1), who host Cherry Creek tonight, return all but one starter from a year ago and have eight seniors out of 12 players on the roster.
Fairview went 11-10 last year and narrowly missed out on qualifying for regionals. Fairview lost a decisive set 15-13 to Monarch in the district semifinals last year. Win that set and the Knights would have gone to regionals. Don't think the Knights have forgotten about that loss.
“We want to fill that hole,” said Fairview senior middle Kendall LaVine, pointing to an empty spot on the wall in the Dungeon where state championship banners hang. “We have all the potential we need. It's just a matter of us really wanting it.”
LaVine committed less than two weeks ago, picking West Virginia over West Point. Senior setter Nicole Edelman won't have to travel nearly as far to go to college. She will play for Colorado next year.
Rounding out the college-bound Knights is senior outside hitter Ali Carleton, who is still deciding between Division II schools Lewis and Clark, Colorado College, the University of Puget Sound and Bates College.
“We are definitely a loaded team,” said Carleton, a three-year starter. “We have the depth, and that will cause everyone to work harder because they will need to fight for their time on the court.”
Edelman, a four-year starter, returned last month from playing on the U18 national team in the FIVB Youth World Championships in Turkey.
She hopes to bring some of her international experience to the Knights this season.
“We played Thailand and they were all shorter, and on the U.S. team I was one of the shorter players and I'm 6-feet tall,” Edelman said. “But the way they work as a team, the way they function together made them a really difficult opponent to play. If we can find a way to have a complete team system that functions really efficiently, that will help us out a lot this season.”
Her first trip to Europe was quite an eye opener as to the differences in volleyball internationally.
“There were amazing crowds,” Edelman said. “You would get chills just being in the gym. They have drums. Everyone's shouting. They have horns. I've never experienced anything like it before.”
Simmons, in her seventh year as Fairview's coach, has never had two senior Division-I players on her team before, although the Knights last year had Edelman and Kelsey Spencer, now a walk-on at CU who had an offer from Division-I Long Island University.
While Fairview has star power in Edelman, LaVine and Carleton, the Knights should have all tools necessary to make a run to the state tournament as every varsity player also suits up for a club program.
“Really, it seems like we have a lot of good, athletic players who can play numerous positions,” Simmons said. “We have the talent and the flexibility if we need to move players around based on our needs or our opponents' strengths and weaknesses from game to game.”