A little over two weeks ago, the Monarch girls volleyball team felt good about its chances at once again factoring into the Front Range League title chase.
But a tough turn of events has the Coyotes now scrambling just to earn a berth in the 36-team postseason field in Class 5A. Eight varsity players, including five starters, are four matches into a five-match suspension.
Fielding a squad of largely junior varsity players, the Coyotes have dropped all four of those matches to fall to 7-9 overall and 3-5 in league play with three league matches remaining.
"I think they're embracing it," first-year Monarch coach Thomas Sullivan said of his younger players. "That's the level they want to get to. It's just coming a year sooner."
Sullivan declined to say why his players are suspended, and Monarch principal Jerry Anderson and athletic director Lani Nobles could not be reached Wednesday.
The stretch has been trying, to say the least, Sullivan acknowledged. But he said the team is still hopeful it can rebound for a postseason berth. The Coyotes also play in a tournament at Dakota Ridge before the postseason ends.
"When they come back, they come back and we move forward," Sullivan said.
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