The Niwot volleyball team went through a challenging week last week, but the Cougars might have felt just a bit better on Monday upon learning they were still in position to host a Class 4A regional tournament.
It's a coveted position to be in, as just 12 teams in the classification earned the right to host a three-team pool with the chance to advance to the state tournament on Nov. 10-11 at the Denver Coliseum.
After winning the Northern League, Niwot entered last week 16-2 and finished 18-5. The gauntlet to end the season included a five-set loss to Holy Family — a hard-fought game on both sides won by the home Tigers in rallying fashion — and a 2-2 showing at the Ponderosa Mustang Classic with wins against the hosts and Durango and losses to 5A Douglas County and Chatfield.
No one can say Niwot, a No. 4 seed, isn't tested as it hosts No. 21 seed Eagle Valley and No. 33 Canon City on Friday.
Another local Northern League team, Longmont, also earned the chance to host a regional after finishing up 19-4 overall. Head coach Holli Stetson's team went 2-2 this past weekend at a tournament at Cheyenne Mountain — again putting themselves to the test against teams like Fossil Ridge (a 5A title contender), Grandview (also 5A) and Windsor.
The Trojans will host Region 8 on Friday with Roosevelt and Vista PEAK rounding out the pod.
Since the preseason, Holy Family and Lyons ran in the top five of their respective classifications in rankings and both the Tigers and Lions have played up to their potential. Holy Family (21-2) went undefeated in the 4A Tri-Valley League while Lyons (19-4) conquered the 2A Mile High League and finished on top at its District 7 tournament this past weekend.
As a result, both teams will also join the ranks of regional hosts and both will have their three-team tournaments on Friday. Holy Family hosts 4A's Region 3 with Air Academy and Elizabeth involved, and Lyons hosts Dawson and Wiggins in 2A's Region B tournament.
Seven other teams qualified for the playoffs and will be spread throughout the state this weekend.
In 5A, Boulder (at Mountain Vista) and Legacy (at Denver East) will play on Friday while Broomfield (at Castle View) and Fairview (at Fruita Monument) play Saturday. Fairview earned the highest seed of those four teams at No. 20.
Erie is also a No. 20 seed in 4A and will travel to Palmer Ridge on Saturday. In 3A, Prospect Ridge Academy and Peak to Peak will be at Lamar and Resurrection Christian, respectively.
Only regional champions get to move on to the 12-team state tournaments at the Coliseum.
Class 5A regionals
at various locations
Region 1 (Friday, 4 p.m.) — Host: (1) Mountain Vista. Other teams: (24) Liberty, (36) Boulder.
Region 3 (Saturday, 11 a.m.) — Host: (3) Castle View. Other teams: (22) Lakewood, (34) Broomfield.
Region 5 (Saturday, 9 a.m.) — Host: (5) Fruita Monument. Other teams: (20) Fairview, (32) Douglas County.
Region 11 (Friday, 4 p.m.) — Host: (11) Denver East. Other teams: (14) Legend, (26) Legacy.
Class 4A regionals
at various locations
Region 3 (Friday, 1:30 p.m.) — Host: (3) Holy Family. Other teams: (22) Air Academy, (34) Elizabeth.
Region 4 (Friday, 4 p.m.) — Host: (4) Niwot. Other teams: (21) Eagle Valley, (33) Canon City.
Region 5 (Saturday, 9:30 a.m.) — Host: (5) Palmer Ridge. (20) Erie, (32) Widefield.
Region 8 (Friday, 4 p.m.) — Host: (8) Longmont. (17) Roosevelt, (29) Vista PEAK.
Class 3A regionals
at various locationsp>Region 5 — Host: (5) Resurrection Christian. Other teams: (20) Peak to Peak, (32) Englewood.
Region 10 (Saturday, 10 a.m.) — Host: (10) Lamar. Other teams: (15) Prospect Ridge Academy, (27) Frontier Academy.
Class 2A regionals
at Lyons HS, Friday
Region B — Host: Lyons. Other teams: Dawson School, Wiggins.
Twelve regional champions in each classification advance to state tournament.