BROOMFIELD — Brenna Fankell was not fearful at all of Broomfield volleyball’s move to Class 5A, nor was she intimidated by the gargantuan Front Range League.
The junior expected the Eagles to be right where they are, high up in the standings playing great team ball.
“I think we’re adjusting really well, and as long as we stay in our systems I think we’ll finish well,” Fankell said Thursday night.
The top-notch opponents are yet to come, but the Eagles took another bite out of their quest to move up in the FRL at the Broomfield gym on Thursday, beating Boulder 3-1 to improve to 4-1 in league play.
Behind 16 kills from Fankell, a junior, and 12 from Callie Kaiser, Broomfield won 25-17, 23-25, 25-23, 25-13. In going to 8-4 on the year, the Eagles have lost to only one 5A opponent, that being Rocky Mountain.
“We have great kids top to bottom, and our coaches all the way down are doing a great job preparing the girls,” said coach Jeff Larsen, whose team next plays Tuesday at Fairview. “It’s just made our transition so much easier.
“I miss our Northern Conference friends … but it’s nice to see new teams and test ourselves against new opponents. This conference is a challenge and we’re hoping to rise to that challenge each time we step on the court.”
Broomfield’s top hitters came alive to close out the scrappy Panthers. Fankell had a huge Set 3 with six kills and a couple of blocks, and Kaiser came on strong in Set 4 with five kills.
The Eagles were getting touches at the net all night, and Fankell appreciated the defense behind her in helping extend points. Kaley Ratcliff had 23 digs to lead the team in that respect.
“I think we played really good defense, and we were able to keep balls up,” Fankell said. “That enabled us to put them away.”
In just its sixth match of the season, Boulder battled after the first set and even had Set 4 at 12-12 before Broomfield rattled off 13 of the final 14 points. For the Panthers (2-4, 1-3 league), there were some mistakes in tight situations that acted as handcuffs.
Boulder had four late errors in Set 3 that set them back, including two service errors, a net violation and a ball-handling error. In fact, ball-handling errors were a running problem against Boulder on this night.
The Panthers, who have two five-set losses so far, are hoping to get more experience under their belts this weekend at the D’Evelyn Tournament.
“We’re trying to focus on things like winning the close battles,” said coach Kyle Rhatigan. “We had a chance to close the third game out and we saw some mental errors and physical errors. We came from behind too much.”
“We’re looking forward to (the tournament) to really find out who we are, because we have some young kids playing. We need to get some more chemistry to get some more positive results.”
“We do a good job of getting ourselves in a rut at the beginning,” added Gabrielle Eyl, who tallied 10 kills to lead the Panthers. “With this tournament, we want to get out to a better start each time. We need to consistently minimize our errors.”
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Broomfield 3, Boulder 1
At Broomfield HS
Boulder (2-4, 1-3) 17 25 23 13
Broomfield (8-4, 4–1) 25 23 25 25
Kills — Boulder: Eyl 10, Aschbacher 7, Evans 7; Broomfield: Fankell 16, Kaiser 12.
Blocks — Boulder: Chow 1, Williams 1; Broomfield: Fankell 4, Kern 2, Rademacher 1.
Assists — Boulder: Chow 21, Sessions 12; Broomfield: Rademacher 31.
Aces — Boulder: Pollich 2; Broomfield: Kern 5.
Digs — Boulder: Todea 21, Eyl 20; Broomfield: Ratcliff 23.