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  • Prospect Ridge Academy's Aydin Reinking, center, tries to get the...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Prospect Ridge Academy's Aydin Reinking, center, tries to get the ball past Kate Sebesta, left, and Addyson Huber of Erie during Tuesday night's showdown. Go to for more photos.

  • Hannah Kurtz, left, and Sydney Crites of Erie attempt to...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Hannah Kurtz, left, and Sydney Crites of Erie attempt to block the kill attempt of Prospect Ridge Academy's Addison Freedle during Tuesday night's match. Go to for more photos.

  • Erie celebrates after scoring a point against Prospect Ridge on...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    Erie celebrates after scoring a point against Prospect Ridge on Tuesday.



BROOMFIELD —Showing little regard for her body, Erie junior Jessica Amend sprung out of her stance and crashed against the hardwood floor to save a point Tuesday night. Senior Megan Casillas then paid it off with a devastating kill between defenders.

No time for the dog days of summer for the Tigers. The road to state begins now.

Erie, a year after finishing a victory shy of making the 4A state tournament, improved to 7-2 after its three-set victory over Prospect Ridge Academy. Kate Sebesta had eight kills and Sydney Crites added seven of her own in a match where the Tigers showed some mistakes but dominated more than not, 25-20, 25-5, 25-19.

“We’re not complacent like were a little bit last year,” Erie coach Molly Creek said. “We’re focusing on every rep and always being outside our comfort zone in our practices, so when we get to those tough matches we’re prepared.”

The Tigers’ 16-9 record last year was the program’s best in recent memory yet left much to be desired as a three-set loss to Palmer Ridge in last year’s regionals halted the Tigers from getting to the Denver Coliseum.

This year, reaching the program’s first state tournament in more than a decade, according to CHSAA and MaxPreps records, is at the forefront of conversation.

“It’s very obvious, we talk about it every day, every practice,” Casillas said. “State, state, state is what we do. And that’s where we want to go.”

Erie’s all-out second set was a glimpse of what could be better days ahead. The Tigers, who lost only two seniors from last year’s squad, dominated the set with runs of nine and six to take 25 of 30 points.

In it, five different players had kills and defense came from all sides of the court — from sprinting down lobs near the bleachers to head-first dives for digs in the middle.

“We are all so close off the court that on the court we’re just playing for each other,” Amend said. “I think that’s driving us to win these games and being there as a team for one another.”

The Miners (2-5) were looking to regroup after losing three of four at the Machebeuf Tournament over the weekend, said coach Lexee Marshall. And for the first and third sets against the Tigers, there were some positive takeaways, too.

After the Tigers jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first on the strength of two aces from Amend and a kill from both Crites and Haley Hahn, the Miners closed the gap to 23-20 after six straight points. In the third, Prospect Ridge Academy trailed 18-8 before battling back to make it 20-17.

“We had a really rough tournament at Machebeuf where we weren’t playing together or cohesively,” Marshall said. “That was my only ask of them tonight was to figure out a way for everyone to be present. And I think we did that in the first and third sets.”

Brent W. New:, tweet @brentwnew


Erie 3, Prospect Ridge Academy 0

At Prospect Ridge Academy

Erie (7-2) 25  25  25

Prospect Ridge Academy (2-5)20  5  19

Kills — Erie: Kate Sebesta 8, Sydney Crites 7, Addyson Huber 4, Haley Hahn 3, Jessica Amend 1, Megan Casillas 1. Prospect Ridge Academy: Not available.

Blocks — Erie: Hannah Kurz 3, Huber 2, Amend 1. Prospect Ridge Academy: Not available.

Assists — Erie: Amend 8, Casillas 3. Prospect Ridge Academy: Not available.

Aces — Erie: Amend 2, Crites 1. Prospect Ridge Academy: Not available.

Digs — Erie: Veronica Beltz 10, Amend 5, Casillas 2, Skylar Small 2. Prospect Ridge Academy: Not available.

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