HIGHLANDS RANCH — When the Fairview volleyball team qualified for the state tournament last year, the Knights ended a drought that had lasted since 1998.
If there was any fear of another drought following that state qualification, the Knights put it to rest on Saturday.
At the 5A Region 11 tournament on Saturday, 14th-seeded Knights defeated 26th-seeded Columbine 3-0 and 11th-seeded Highlands Ranch 3-1 to win the tournament and claim the state tournament berth out of the region.
"It's such a great opportunity," Knights junior Caroline Schmiedeler said. "We all felt like we deserved it and we went out hard to get it. Our team changed a lot since last year and it was huge for us to be able to take the opportunity and run with it again."
Under first-year head coach Kelsey Spencer, the Knights (20-5) won the 5A Front Range League this season. Once they hit the regional round the Knights didn't let up.
In the second match of the day at Highlands Ranch High School, Fairview swept Columbine 25-17, 25-22, 25-10. Against host Highlands Ranch (14-11), who took four sets to put away Columbine (16-9) in the first round, the Knights turned up the defense and overcame a rough second set to win the pivotal match 25-23, 15-25, 25-23, 25-20.
"Both teams were really competitive and had really athletic players," Spencer said. "In the Highlands Ranch game, especially, every point was a battle. They were some of the longest points we've ever played and we had to fight for everything."
The state tournament for all classifications will take place next Friday and Saturday at the Denver Coliseum. This time around, many of the Knights players will be in familiar territory.
Fairview 3, Columbine 0
At Highlands Ranch H.S.Columbine 17 22 10 Fairview 25 25 25
Kills — Fairview: Caroline Schmiedeler 11, Christine Schmiedeler 9, Sami Young 7.
Blocks — Fairview: Caroline Schmiedeler 3, Sami Young 3, Christine Schmiedeler 2.
Assists — Fairview: Audrey Cheng 29.
Aces — Fairview: Cree Lawrence 3, Christine Schmiedeler 3, Caroline Schmiedeler 2.
Digs — Fairview: Cree Lawrence 14, Christine Schmiedeler 11, Caroline Schmiedeler 10.
Fairview 3, Highlands Ranch 1
At Highlands Ranch H.S.Fairview 25 15 25 25 Highlands Ranch 23 25 21 20
Kills — Fairview: Caroline Schmiedeler 15, Christine Schmiedeler 13, Meredith Pearl 6.
Blocks — Fairview: Meredith Pearl 8, Sami Young 6, Christine Schmiedeler 6.
Assists — Fairview: Audrey Cheng 32.
Aces — Fairview: Cree Lawrence 3, Caroline Schmiedeler 2, Sami Young 2.
Digs — Fairview: Cree Lawrence 13, Audrey Cheng 12, Christine Schmiedeler 11, Haley Kilday 9.