Volleyball: Monarch’s upset bid falls short vs. Highlands Ranch

LOUISVILLE — The Monarch volleyball team began Tuesday night with ambitions of a large-scale upset. The Coyotes settled for knowing they can play with the No. 5 team in the state.

Highlands Ranch, merely 10 days removed from ending Chaparral’s 58-game winning streak, strolled into Monarch’s gym to little hospitality as the host Coyotes won the first set. But the Falcons regrouped and came back to win the Class 5A nonleague matchup 19-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20.

“They’re just as good as anyone we’ve played, if not better,” Highlands Ranch coach Lou Krauss said. “They operate real quick. Once they control the ball, it comes back at you pretty fast.”

The Falcons (7-1) withstood 21 kills from Monarch senior standout outside hitter Addy Lofstedt, who earned the praise of Krauss, who labeled her “the real deal.”

Kendall Peterson added nine kills and seven digs for Monarch and sophomore setter Kennedy Selby contributed 16 assists and seven kills.

“It felt good to come out strong,” Peterson said. “I just wished we would have pushed through for a couple more points in the later games. Their blocks were pretty good and they really got that seam that we weren’t closing.”

Highlands Ranch outside hitter Brittanie Tannenbaum was especially effective in the latter sets and finished 16 kills. Rachel Szczepanski, Kelly Brunstein and Nicole Palmer combined for 27 more.

For Monarch (5-3), this symbolized continued progress for a team that returns only two players to their same positions as last season.

“From where we started to where we are now is night and day,” first-year Coyotes coach Thomas Sullivan said. “We’re better defensively and our offense is a lot more up-tempo when we get the ball control.”

The Coyotes will turn around and play at No. 2 Cherokee Trail on Friday night. The Cougars are the lone team to defeat Highlands Ranch this season. But don’t forget Krauss said Monarch was as good as any team Highlands Ranch has faced.

“I just love what the kids are doing,” Sullivan said. “Even games two and three, they were there the whole time. They’re getting better and better as they start to learn each other’s tendencies on the court.”

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Highlands Ranch 3, Monarch 1

At Monarch HS

Highlands Ranch (7-1) 19 25 25 25

Monarch (5-3) 25 23 21 20

Kills — Highlands Ranch: Tannenbaum 16, Szczepanski 11, Brunstein 9, Palmer 7, Twitty 4, Conor 1. Monarch: Lofstedt 21, Patterson 9, Selby 7, Spector 6, Glastetter 3, Chu 2, Harris 1.

Assists — Highlands Ranch: Conor 12. Monarch: Selby 16, Harris 10.

Aces — Highlands Ranch: Twitty 2, Tannenbaum 1, Szczepanski 1, Conor 1, Palmer 1. Monarch: Selby 2, Harris 1, Spector 1.

Digs — Highlands Ranch: Brunstein 6, Tannenbaum 4. Monarch: Patterson 7, Krauther-Klemme 5, Lofstedt 4.