TEN PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kylen Christiansen, Sr., Lyons — The Lions' bid to repeat as 2A champs starts with the heady Christiansen executing play after play and making things easy for attackers to find weaknesses.
Sydney Crites, Sr., Erie — Finishing sixth in the Tri-Valley league last year with 227 kills, she may get even more opportunities to crush it this season.
Vicki Fankell, Jr., Broomfield — The relationship between her and Kristina Consbruck could strengthen immensely this year, giving the Eagles much hope for a top-three league finish.
Peyton Frank, Jr., Holy Family — An all-region first team pick and second team all-state pick as a sophomore, Frank leads a solid group of Tigers in the back row.
Abbey Glynn, Sr., Mead — Her 1.5 blocks per set was fifth in 4A in 2017, but her overall athleticism is simply remarkable and will pay large dividends for MHS this season.
Zoe Gonzales, Sr., Niwot — She poured all her athletic efforts into volleyball this past year, and the Wake Forest commit is looking to partner with her teammates for another Northern League crown.
Arianna Greenspan, Sr., Peak to Peak — The senior will look to lead the Metro League in digs once again this year and get the Pumas to punch back more often.
Emma Quarles, Sr., Legacy — Another talented setter with the ability to throw other teams off the mark, Quarles adds a solid blocking element to the Lightning front row, too.
Nicole Scribner, So., Dawson School — She was a machine in the back row for the 17-win Mustangs, also contributing a 95 percent service success rate with 37 aces.
Annika Wetterstrom, Sr., Longmont — She finished top three on the team in most major categories, and in her senior season should be considered a leader on a conference contender.
RPI will be used in volleyball to help determine playoff fields for all classifications after the regular season is completed (1A/2A complete by Oct. 20; 3A/4A/5A season complete by Oct. 27). Teams will work through district and regional tournaments by Nov. 3, and the state tournament will be held at the Denver Coliseum on Nov. 8-10.
Coach: Kyle Rhatigan (Fifth year).
2017 finish: 11-14 overall; 4-8 Class 5A Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Abby Aschbacher (Sr., OH); Georgia Daly (Sr., RS); Fiona Quinn (Sr., S); Gabby Rucker (Sr., OH).
Others to watch: Tess DeFilippi (Jr., RS); Charlotte Lee (Jr., MB); Willow Leeland (Jr., MB).
Outlook: The Panthers have been very steady under Rhatigan, but the fifth-year coach is looking for that next-level mentality from his girls this season, especially in the FRL. He's excited for the depth all the way down to the freshman class, and Quinn will have a new set of attackers to feed the ball to. Nonleague opponents include Dakota Ridge and Denver East.
Coach: Bob Knox (First year).
2017 finish: 10-15 overall; 6-6 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Kristina Consbruck (Jr., S); Vicki Fankell (Jr., OH); Hope Hanak-Harper (Jr., OPP); Lesley Munson (Sr., MB).
Others to watch: Sophie Bushman (Fr., OH); Cailyn Gasser (Jr., OH/MB); Kaitlyn Gurnsey (Jr., DS); Emily Jaramillo (Sr., S); Maddy Welty (Sr., MB); Emma Winter (Fr., OPP).
Outlook: Knox returns to BHS hopeful that he can install a solid, team-oriented structure that will result in an impact season for these seniors and a foundation for the future. There will be chances for plenty of girls to get to play, and he said there's a lot of talent that may have gotten overlooked. Consbruck and Fankell were all-league selections, and Jaramillo returns to the team after a year off from the program. Overall, a big rise from BHS is possible.
Coach: CJ Rabinowitz (First year).
2017 finish: 3-20 overall; 0-14 Class 4A Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Adriana Iturbe (Sr., DS); Olivia Kohnken (Sr., MB); Krista Visscher (Sr., RS/OPP).
Others to watch: Allie Bundy (Jr., MB); Hale Burke (Jr., S); Tess Jason (So., S/DS); Mackenzie Kilday (Sr., OH); Alexis McKay (Jr., DS); Evelyn Romine (Fr., DS); Lindsay Underwood (So., L).
Outlook: The Warriors stumbled out of the gates last year and then just could not gather their bearings in league play, but Rabinowitz is hoping for a progressive turnaround in the coming years with a large group of juniors and sophomores. She'll look to quicken the pace offensively but certainly expects better net play and scrappiness when defending. Senior Gab Delavallade's ACL injury will keep her from playing, but she'll remain active in teaching the setters as much as possible.
Dawson School Mustangs
Coach: Carisa Kessler (Third year).
2017 finish: 17-8 overall; 9-4 Class 2A District 7.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Dagney Javes (So., MB); Winter Meske-Eby (Sr., DS/RS); Sydney Parrish (Jr., MB); Kiera Porrey (Jr., S); Angelina Sala (So., S); Nicole Scribner (So., L).
Others to watch: None specified.
Outlook: Kessler has brought the program to new heights in two short years, and although the team was pretty senior-laden in 2017 there is a sense that a firm foundation has been built. Scribner played every set last year as a freshman, giving the team a rock in defense and serve-receive. Porrey logged 90 kills last year, as well, and will be a big piece of the offense.
Coach: Molly Creek (Second year).
2017 finish: 16-9 overall; 8-6 Class 4A Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Jess Amend (Jr., S); Veronica Beltz (Sr., DS/L); Megan Casillas (Sr., S); Sydney Crites (Sr., OH); Haley Hahn (Sr., MB); Hannah Kurz (Sr., MB); Skylar Small (Sr., DS).
Others to watch: Rachael Carreras (Sr., DS); Addyson Huber (Jr., OH/MB); Kate Sebesta (Jr., OH).
Outlook: The Tigers return several girls from their regional qualifying team last year, and all of them saw action in at least half the sets played giving Creek experience to lean on. Crites was an all-conference hitter (227 kills, .286 percentage) and Hahn, Kurz and Amend each got plenty of swings in, as well. Transition attack and out-of-system play are what Creek alluded to as being the areas most important to shoring up as EHS continues to rise in the TVL.
Coach: Kelsey English (First year).
2017 finish: 10-15 overall; 5-7 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Names of returners were not provided.
Others to watch: Names were not provided.
Outlook: English was still deep in tryout mode at press time, but she said the Knights were looking to diversify the offense and really try and capitalize on serving this year.
Coach: Suzanne Robison (Second year).
2017 finish: 9-14 overall; 3-11 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Bailey Baumgardner (Sr., MB); Josi Revielle (Sr., S); Gillian Ridgley (Jr., S/RS); Paige Schaa (Sr., OH); Julia White (Sr., L/OH).
Others to watch: Abby Awad (So., MB); Ashlyn Grant-Miller (So., DS/L); Kinley Lindhardt (Fr., OH); Leilani Purcell (So., RS).
Outlook: The Warriors do not boast height, which can prove difficult in as tough a league as the TVL, but Robison has a good core of players up front who continue to study the systems in place and will try and work on placement to improve overall hitting. In passing, Frederick has a number of experienced players looking to get the ball to Revielle. Finally, the Warriors will look to remain consistent on serve, with an added bit of aggressive mentality to it, too.
Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Krista Solomon (Fourth year).
2017 finish: 25-3 overall; 14-0 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Peyton Frank (Jr., L); Ali Travis (Sr., OH).
Others to watch: Bianca Eldridge (Jr., OH); Carly Trostel (Jr., S).
Outlook: Having won at least 22 matches each of the past three seasons, Holy Family's expectations are pretty high despite a considerable loss of talent to graduation. It will be important for HFHS to stay strong in the middle, but Frank represents dependability on defense and passing. Travis continues to be one of the area's best all-around players, and she'll help on defense when needed, too.
Jefferson Academy Jaguars
Coach: Kyle Tycksen (Third year).
2017 finish: 9-14 overall; 2-9 Class 3A Metro League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Molly Floyd (Sr., L/DS); Logan Mahnke (Jr., MB); Kayla Slusser (Sr., OH).
Others to watch: Julia Bahr (Sr., S); Lauren Burns (Jr., RS); Haylee Floyd (So., MB); Sam Franson (Jr., S/OH); Aaliyah Robinson (Jr., MB); Trinity Stuart (Jr., S/OH); Lydia Thurman (Jr., DS).
Outlook: Tycksen is exciting about the high ceiling the Jaguars are capable of, as well as the early chemistry his team has shown, but a lot of success is hinging on a young group of girls coming up this year. Slusser is tough on serves and led all returning players in kills last year, while Floyd led the team in digs. The Metro League likely goes through Lutheran once again.
Coach: Nicole Coffey (First year).
2017 finish: 14-11 overall; 8-4 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Brittany Baum (Sr., OH/RS); Lacy Carson (Sr., DS/L); Hope Hagara (Jr., DS/L); Bailee Newham (Sr., MB); Emma Quarles (Sr., S); Jenna Wehrly (Sr., OH).
Others to watch: Cailea Caiciozzi (Fr., S/L/RS); Madison Crow (So.).
Outlook: Coffey takes over a Lightning team that has back-to-back winning seasons, but again that saw three very good seniors move on. Quarles's versatility (678 assists to go with 78 kills and 52 total blocks) gives LHS a ton of options, a lot of experience is shared between Baum, Newham, Carson, Wehrly and Hagara. Coffey said Caiciozzi has the potential to be a breakout player, while overall the team has quite a load of club experience.
Coach: Holli Stetson (17th year).
2017 finish: 20-5 overall; 12-2 Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Caroline Demosthenes (Jr., MB); Autumn Drees (Sr., RS); Ellen Goodwin (Sr., L); Payton Jonason (So., OH); Zoe Lowe (Sr., MB); Annika Wetterstrom (Sr., S).
Others to watch: Tara Hitchcock (Sr., DS); Ada Grace Creighton (Jr., OH).
Outlook: It's an interesting overhaul of coaches in the Northern League, but Stetson is excited about the competition that will be present as the Trojans attempt to climb back to the top. Longmont will look to capitalize on a good group of returning servers, a corps of heads-up defenders, and Wetterstrom's ability to set across the entire net.
Longmont Christian Warriors
Coach: Kellyn Crowder (First year).
2017 finish: 4-17 overall; 3-8 Class 1A District 4.
Outlook: Having just been hired to take over the program last Friday, Crowder was still getting acquainted with the girls on the team at press time. However, the first-year high school coach was excited at the school's environment and said she had a few returning players in addition to some skilled younger girls she hopes will immediately contribute.
Coach: Heather Evans (First year).
2017 finish: 25-5 overall; 11-1 Class 2A District 7.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Kylen Christiansen (Sr., S/RS); Taylor Maguire (Jr., OH).
Others to watch: Jesse Bartel (Jr., L); Gracie Jennings (So., MB); Avery Joy (So., S); Ava McCall (Sr., L); Kate Mortensen (So.); Estella Percarpio (Jr.); Charlotte Rogers (Jr., MB).
Outlook: Evans takes over a team that will have a little bit of a target on its back after capturing the 2A state title last year, and she is excited at the level of volleyball IQ on the court as well as within the LHS community. Christiansen will be playing a more diverse role this season, which still could keep things open for the powerful Maguire.
Coach: Juliane Mosebar (First year).
2017 finish: 7-16 overall; 3-11 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Brenley Bruxvoort (So., OH); Hope Borger (Sr., L); Abbey Glynn (Sr., MB); Hailee Martinez (So., S); Kenzie Morton (So., OH); Abby Sprague (Jr., OPP/DS); Phoenix Wilke (Jr., MB).
Others to watch: Quincey Cole (Fr. OH); Morgan Munro (Fr. MB); Lauren Steidel (So., OH); Emily Stewart (So., S).
Outlook: Mosebar comes from Evergreen and has an extensive resume, and the she's ultimately focused on the future of the program and the possibility of building a league contender. The Mavs will hone in on serving and passing as they feel the attack is strong and determined. Martinez was the featured setter last year, but the 6-2 offense is being considered with the maturation of Stewart.
Coach: Jen Dixon (Third year).
2017 finish: 11-12 overall; 3-9 Front Range League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Demi Brown (Sr., L); Colleen Chen (Sr., S/RS); Laura Cook (Sr., RS); Savannah Cook (Sr., RS); Evelyn Haskins (Sr., OH); Laura Stricker (Sr., MB).
Others to watch: None.
Outlook: The Coyotes have finished about .500 each of the past two seasons, but this year's team features an incredibly large senior class looking to go out with a bang. In fact, Dixon attributed chemistry as MoHi's biggest asset right now, and they should be quite strong defensively. A lot is expected of Stricker from corner to corner.
Coach: Julianna Kellner (First year).
2017 finish: 3-12 overall; 1-10 Class 2A District 7.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Names of returners were not provided.
Others to watch: Names were not provided.
Outlook: The Panthers are welcoming in a new coach after a disappointing 2017 campaign. Increasing the number of wins would be an encouraging step forward for the program.
Coach: Daisha Ahgo (Second year).
2017 finish: 22-6 overall; 13-1 Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Emma Falk (Sr., MB); Zoe Gonzales (Sr., MB); Katie Hirsh (Sr., S/DS); Audrey Richard (Sr., OH); Madison Schoeder (Sr., S).
Others to watch: Zoe Gibbs (Fr., OH/RS); Natasha Terekhova (So., OH/RS); Annika Turner (Sr., DS).
Outlook: The Cougars will be looking to match last year's impressive run with a continued passion for the game and for playing together to make Niwot a known power in 4A. Ahgo was still finalizing teams this week, but she said she's very comfortable with the offense while still working some newer girls into defensive roles. Falk and Gonzales are Division I commits, giving them ample opportunity to just have fun and lead the squad, and Schoeder will set the front the entire season this year after transferring to NHS before last season.
Peak to Peak Pumas
Coach: Chris Cranor (Third year).
2017 finish: 15-10 overall; 5-4 Metro League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Arianna Greenspan (Sr., L); Jordan Hall (Sr., MB); Isabelle Pollock (Jr., MB); Payton Shattuck (Sr., MB); Anna Sparling (Jr. OH); Calla Winner (Jr., S).
Others to watch: Paige McSavaney (Jr., OH); Bailey Patterson (So., OH); Kasey Yano (Jr., RS).
Outlook: The Pumas won a regional opener last year and will look to build on that with a good group of returning starters and some others excited to get their opportunity. Cranor is confident in his middle blockers at the net, but defensively there's also a stalwart in Greenspan who should have another great season. As with many other teams, the desire to just get faster in system is strong and necessary.
Prospect Ridge Miners
Coach: Lexee Marshall (Fifth year).
2017 finish: 19-6 overall; 8-3 Metro League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Chloe Brown (Jr., S/RS/L); Destiny Castro (Sr., OH/RS); Addie Freedle (So., S); Gabi Maiocco (Sr., OH/RS); Lauryn Parker (Sr., MB).
Others to watch: Skylar Freedle (Sr., L); Sierra Leopold (Fr., MB); .
Outlook: The Miners added some height this year — Leopold is 6-2 and should be a factor immediately — but Marshall said early she is looking forward to the internal competition from the team for open slots on the court coming off a great season. Skylar Freedle is returning from an injury, and the Miners return some real consistent servers.
Shining Mountain Lions
Coach: Mike Hawkes (Fourth year).
2017 finish: 1-17 overall; 0-7 Class 1A District 8.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Emma Beal (Sr., OH); Natasha Gromicko (So., S); Rosemary Rianoshek (Sr., MB).
Others to watch: Frances Hilliard (So., S); Olivia Jabari (So., RS); Sophia Matarrese (Fr., MB); Kalea Zeender (Fr., OH).
Outlook: The Lions seek consistency on the back row to get themselves in position to attack more effectively this year, and Hawkes said early season workouts have shown a great desire to improve. Most of the team returns, so there is some intrigue in how they handle tight matches.
Silver Creek Raptors
Coach: Tatum McKenzie (Third year).
2017 finish: 9-14 overall; 5-9 Northern League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Katie James (Sr., MB); Tess Peter (So., L); Caitlin Volkmann (Jr., OH).
Others to watch: Maggie Adams (So., RS); Emily Churchich (Sr., S); Megan Sotiroff (Fr., OH).
Outlook: The Raptors want to be more multi-dimensional this year, but they do have a jump-to-the-ceiling hitter in Volkmann who hits with authority and a star-in-the-making in Sotiroff whom McKenzie said is an exceptional beach player. Churchich will get the chance to handle all the setting duties, and Silver Creek hopes to avoid a slow start — particularly in league play. Overall depth seems to be something the third-year coach is excited about.
Coach: Susan Karimi (Second year).
2017 finish: 1-22 overall; 0-14 Tri-Valley League.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Kamilah Bugarin (Sr., S/RS); Jenny Dunder (Jr., MB/OH); Molly Hennessy (Jr., OH); Sophia Lindauer (Jr., OH); Abigail Stoops (Jr., S/RS); Sierra West (Sr., (L/DS).
Others to watch: Gaby Bustillo (Sr., (L/DS); Chelsey Carlisle (Sr., OH/RS/MB); Rachel Dietz (Sr., MB).
Outlook: Karimi has a ton of optimism in having such a large group of returners who want to shed last year's results, and they've had a productive summer to help build some confidence. She is most proud ot the academic standards they have set for themselves, and hopefully that transfers to being more fundamentally sound and communicative on the court.
Twin Peaks Charter Timberwolves
Coach: Patti Fisher (Third year).
2017 finish: 0-17 overall; 0-11 Class 2A District 7.
Returning starters (Name, position, year): Natalie Rodriguez (Sr., OH/DS); Jenna Sickau (Sr., MB); Sydney Stevenson (Jr., S); Peyton Thorne (Sr., OH/MB).
Others to watch: Breanna Van Dorn (Fr., MB).
Outlook: The Timberwolves are looking to get a little more confidence a little earlier in the season, and Fisher said that her overall impression is the team has chemistry and balance is skill on the roster. The service game is solid, and Van Dorn has the potential to bolster the blocks right off the bat.
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