BROOMFIELD -- It was early October, and despite a world of potential, Broomfield's volleyball season was slowly slipping down the drain.

When the Eagles suffered a four-set loss at Thompson Valley on Oct. 11, Broomfield appeared destined for mediocrity. That loss left the Eagles with an 8-7 record. To that point, Broomfield had hovered around the .500 mark, essentially trading wins and losses throughout the first half season.

The rollercoaster ride didn't inspire much confidence, let alone daydreams of a run toward the state tournament.

Yet the Eagles' seniors class, led by Hanna "Jo Jo" Boyer and Kailee Van Tine, had been dreaming of reaching the state tournament since they were freshmen, when they watched Broomfield's varsity squad take the big stage at the Denver Coliseum. They weren't going to let those dreams fade away so easily.

In a team-wide midseason meeting, the Eagles encouraged head coach Monica Tuz to push them harder at practice. Obviously, every coach would love to be issued such a challenge, and Broomfield has responded admirably by making a stellar second-half run to reach the Class 4A state tournament.

The state tournaments for all five classes begin Friday at the Denver Coliseum. The Eagles received the 10th seed and will compete in Pool III with sixth-seeded Coronado and Northern League rival Longmont, which earned the third seed.

"It was like that line of, 'We could either go here or we could go there,' and for them to step up and say this is what we want was, to be honest, what I was waiting for," Tuz said. "I can want the world for them, but unless they want it, it doesn't matter."


Since that night at Thompson Valley, the Eagles have reeled off seven wins in 10 games, a stretch that included a four-set rematch win against Thompson Valley on Oct. 23. Broomfield collected the final two of those seven wins on Saturday en route to winning the 4A Region 10 tournament as the 15th seed, sweeping 10th-seeded Elizabeth and dispatching D'Evelyn in four sets.

"Our practices got more intense and we've been pulling together for this extra push at the end," Boyer said. "Our underclassmen are really pushing for our seniors, and we're really just playing for each other. We've been practicing since we were freshmen for this. We've been looking forward to this season for a while and we're definitely peaking at the right moment. I don't think we panicked, but I think we realized we needed to step it up a little."

Boyer has led the Eagles in several statistical categories, including kills (323) and digs (287), while sharing the team lead with Van Tine in aces with 33. Broomfield will be challenged to advance out of pool play, given the Eagles will have to overcome the 24-1 Northern League champs from Longmont in order to advance. Yet despite suffering a pair of losses against Longmont during the regular season, the Eagles nonetheless are one of only seven teams that managed to win sets against the Trojans this year, and Broomfield enters the state tournament with its collective confidence soaring.

"I think the most important thing will be getting our heads right," said Van Tine, the Eagles' setter who has recorded 715 assists this season. "I feel like sometimes we freak because it's like, 'Oh it's Longmont,' and they're really good. But I think if our team is able to get our heads where they should be and say, 'No, we can beat them. We can give them a run for their money.' We'll be in good shape."

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