The respect is real between the Fairview and Boulder volleyball teams.
With a squad rolling like the Knights are, however, it's not easy to get them off-kilter. With tremendous support from both sides in what proved to be an energetic atmosphere at the Boulder High gym on Wednesday, Fairview came out hungry with its goal of a Front Range League title getting closer to realization and knocked Boulder off rather handily, 3-0 .
While Boulder is still hoping to climb up from the middle of the league standings in the next couple weeks, Wednesday belonged to FHS thanks to starting each set with huge runs that allowed them to do a lot of different things with their lineups. The Knights took the games 25-17, 25-19, 25-12 to improve to 7-0 in league play and 10-3 overall.
With Fairview leads like 21-10, 16-9 and 14-4 in each respective set, there were definitely coaches on opposite sides of the spectrum afterwards.
"We came out strong in all three sets and kind of got that room to try some new players in new positions and run plays we've only been able to do in practice," Fairview coach Kelsey Spencer said, her team turning right around to play Legacy on Thursday. "I'm proud of how they started each time out."
"Fairview really served well tonight and it got us out of system, and we were really just disoriented from the beginning," Boulder coach Kyle Rhatigan said. "Credit to Fairview for playing well tonight. If you can get us out of system, it's tough on us, just like any team. We just need to better focus on things like that."
The Knights were tough on the serve all night, which in turn helped set them up along the net for favorable results on the blocks. Meredith Pearl had four total blocks, and Ava Lai and Caroline Schmiedeler added three total blocks apiece to help curb Boulder's momentum.
Boulder tallied just 17 kills on the night, though they did make some runs that showed off the capabilities of a team that has several good wins on the year already.
Junior Hannah Bagley, who Spencer coached prior to her high school years, had eight kills to lead the Panthers. For Bagley, too, it was tough to get in a rhythm because of the success of the Fairview serve.
"We've got to focus on communicating in the serve receive because it's such a huge part and that's where we're lacking the most," Bagley said. "I feel like once we get a pass we have an incredible offense and can do a lot with it.
"They were a a good blocking team and we haven't played a lot of those types of teams yet."
The Knights are known for their strong outsides, and both Pearl and Lai have continuously seen their production increase. Lai, whose sister Annika graduated in 2015, is an athletic middle who has come far under Pearl's leadership.
"Our back row was great helping us out and our front row was really covering the block well so everyone really was committed to their job," Lai said. "I feel like Meredith and I really do support each other well, and it's a fun thing. We just both feed off each other's commitment to the block so much."
"We really wanted to show to our fans how good we can be, and we were inspired to play hard and finish the game."
Fairview 3, Boulder 0
At Boulder HSFairview (10-3, 7-1) 25 25 25
Boulder (8-8, 3-4) 17 19 12
Kills — Fairview: Christine Schmiedeler 12, Haley Kilday 8, Caroline Schmiedeler 7; Boulder: Hannah Bagley 7, Jean Cutter 6, Nicole Williams 3.
Blocks — Fairview: Meredith Pearl 4, Ava Lai 3, Ca. Schmiedeler 3; Boulder: Not available.
Assists — Fairview: Audrey Cheng 27, Sophie Pearson 6; Boulder: Emma Chow 16.
Aces — Fairview: Cheng 3, Lauren Chase 3, Ca. Schmiedeler 2, Ch. Schmiedeler 2; Boulder: Cutter 1.
Digs — Fairview: Izze Uvalle 12, Ca. Schmiedeler 8; Boulder: Bagley 8, Leah Fattor 6, Kailey Reagan 6, several with 5.