BOULDER — It had been more than five years since the Boulder High volleyball team had even won a set against Fairview. And BHS hadn’t beaten the Knights in a match since before Brooke Simmons took over the FHS program in 2005.
But the Panthers ended both droughts in one night on Thursday.
It took five sets, but BHS finally knocked off its intra-city rival, 25-21, 19-25, 25-13, 18-25, 15-5.
“I’m so happy right now, I can’t even describe it,” said senior Michaela McKeown, who racked up a team-leading 13 kills for host Boulder. “That was a really big game for us.”
The teams went into the fifth and deciding set very evenly matched. Through the first four sets, Boulder had outscored Fairview by a mere three points. But after the Knights went up 5-4, BHS reeled off the last 11 points of the match to post the victory.
An ace by Courtney Van Bussum and then a block on a FHS kill attempt ended it for the Panthers, starting an on-the-court celebration by BHS players and fans.
“The girls deserve every second of it because they’ve fought hard and worked hard,” said second-year Boulder coach Angela Sultzer. “They’ve kind of been the underdog all along in Boulder. It’s really nice for them to finally be on top.”
The Panthers already have eclipsed their victory total from last season (6) and stand 8-5 overall and 2-3 in Front Range League action. Fairview remains winless in league play (0-5) while dropping to 4-8 overall.
“Anytime we play Boulder, it’s a competitive and challenging and very emotional game for both sides,” Simmons said after suffering her first loss against BHS. “Of course the girls are disappointed, but I thought they fought hard.”
The momentum went back and forth Thursday, with Boulder winning the first and third sets and Fairview the second and fourth. But most of the fifth set, the Panthers dominated.
“Prior to the game we talked about how fifth games are tough because both teams are tired,” Sultzer said. “The team that wins is the one that ends up wanting it more and which is willing to put more on the line and take more risks. We were able to do that today. This is a good feeling for sure.”
McKeown notched three of her kills in the decisive set. Van Bussum joined her in double figures in kills for the match, with 10, in addition to serving up three aces.
“We went in the locker room before (the match) and we were like, ‘This is our game. We’re not going to let them take it from us again,'” McKeown said. “And we went out there and gave everything we could. That’s what did it for us.”
Junior Alison Yardley led Fairview with 15 kills, most of them coming in the last two sets. Courtney Roberts added 14 kills for the Knights.
Boulder will play at Fossil Ridge on Tuesday night, while Fairview will host Greeley West.
Boulder 3, Fairview 2
At Boulder HS
Fairview (4-8, 0-5) 21 25 13 25 5
Boulder (8-5, 2-3) 25 19 25 18 15
Kills — Fairview: Yardley 15, Roberts 14, Lindgren 11; Boulder: McKeown 13, Van Bussum 10, Houlihan 9.
Blocks — Fairview: Rayford 5, Yardley 2, Herbert 2; Boulder: Kube 3 1/2, Houlihan 2 1/2, Van Bussum 1 1/2.
Assists — Fairview: Davis 22, Brennan 14; Boulder: Greer 39.
Aces — Fairview: Davis 2, Brennan 1, Rayford 1; Boulder: Van Bussum 3, Kube 2.
Digs — Fairview: Lindgren 22, Flynn 7, Davis 7; Boulder: Burkhardt 19, McKeown 17, Greer 16.