If the Class 5A volleyball playoffs were to start today, Fairview and Boulder would both likely see their respective names in regional tournaments somewhere along the front range, albeit by the skin of their teeth.

And, time is running out for them to climb in the ratings percentage index that helps determine those postseason berths. Just 36 teams make it, and the Panthers and Knights were sitting at No. 33 and No. 34, respectively, in the RPI entering Tuesday's crosstown match at FHS.

With each team needing a win — really both teams are in must-win mode as it stands the rest of the regular season — Fairview stepped forward on its home floor and seized the opportunity to stand its ground in the rankings with a 3-0 sweep of the Panthers by dominating at the net and on the serve.

The Knights, a team that has many new faces playing big-time roles this season, showed as a squad building confidence at the right time in a 25-20, 25-15, 25-13 win that they hope will spark the rest of their regular slate as they improved to 4-9 overall.

"This is the best they've played so far this season and I think we're hitting our stride," head coach Kelsey Spencer said after the Knights also moved to 3-4 in the Front Range League. "We're getting more consistent on the outside, for sure. We've been moving a lot of girls around and they're really just now feeling comfortable in those roles. And we're getting more consistent at going for the kills when they're there and putting it somewhere smart when it's not."


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"We knew we needed to bring all the energy we could and just stay positive in this one," said outside/middle Alyssa Millard, who had a solid all-around night playing against some familiar faces for BHS (8-9, 2-5). "I think once we were able to put up a strong block we were able to shut them down in get in their heads a bit."

As is typical, both student bodies represented well for the match and Boulder, which had won two of its past three matches coming in, appeared ready to tangle with the hosts after the first set went point-for-point.

Boulder’s Cassie Stoffer celebrates a point during a game at Fairview Tuesday night. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more photos.
Boulder's Cassie Stoffer celebrates a point during a game at Fairview Tuesday night. Go to BoCoPreps.com for more photos. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer)

The Fairview front row started to take over, however, early in the second set. As Boulder began to struggle putting balls down at the net, instead forced to hit over the FHS block, Fairview managed to get in system a bit more opening opportunities for Ava Lai, Grace Andrews and Devon Walsh to spot openings to the floor.

Walsh paced the team with 10 kills, while Lai added six and Millard three. Overall, Fairview doubled Boulder in kills each of the two final games. The home team never looked back after gaining a 15-8 lead in set two and a 15-5 lead in set three.

"I'm proud of our effort because we were aggressive," Spencer said.

The Knights also used an aggressive serve to get eight aces and put Boulder's passing in the spotlight. Boulder coach Kyle Rhatigan said his Panthers didn't get to attack the way they are used to, often working further from the net than desired because of the serve receive.

Attack errors mounted for the Panthers, who will get a chance to fight right back on Thursday against Monarch. Hannah Bagley and Cassie Stoffer each had four kills to pace BHS.

"(Fairview) served great and it made us play more from behind the 10-foot line than we wanted, and that hurts because we like to run our middles much more," Rhatigan said. "We were outside-reliant tonight, and (Fairview) was able to get set on that. We tried to do a lot perfect rather than just doing what comes natural and we didn't get in any rhythm."

Fairview's schedule is heavier at the end of the season with a tournament mixed between its two remaining FRL contests (Legacy, Fossil Ridge).

"Coming off this win, it puts us in good position moving forward," added Millard, who had three kills and three blocks. "We had a rough start but this game it feels like a turning point."

Adam Dunivan: dunivana@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/AdamDunivan24

Fairview 3, Boulder 0

At Fairview HS

Boulder (8-9, 2-5)201513Fairview (4-9, 3-4)252525

Kills — Boulder: Hannah Bagley 4, Cassie Stoffer 4; Fairview: Devond Walsh 10, Ava Lai 6, Alyssa Millard 3.

Blocks — Boulder: Bagley 3; Fairview: Millard 3, Lai 2, Cali Fuller 2.

Assists — Boulder: Fiona Quinn 9; Fairview: Sophie Pearson 28.

Aces — Boulder: Kailey Reagan 2, Nicole Williams 1; Fairview: Pearson 2, Sam Anthony 2.

Digs — Boulder: Bagley 9, Reagan 9; Fairview: Anthony 8, Pearson 5, Emma Houston 5, Kelly Hoag 4.