Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
BROOMFIELD — There could be no slip-up for the Legacy volleyball team against Boulder on Tuesday night.
While some Class 5A teams still have a match or two left in their regular season, perhaps a final tune-up-for-regionals tournament this weekend, the Lightning were looking to give themselves their best shot at securing a regional playoff berth with a win against the Panthers. On senior night, it was those experienced players that shone bright in a 3-0 home win.
Brittany Baum, Bailee Newham, Jenna Wehrley and a few others were overwhelmingly efficient on the attack, and the Lightning finished the regular season at 11-12 after beating BHS 25-16, 25-21, 25-16.
“Yesterday in practice … we were just going at a lot faster pace because we wanted to secure this win and make sure we made it into the playoffs,” said Baum, who contributed some of the more powerful kills on the night from the outside.
Legacy entered Tuesday play sitting at No. 33 in the 5A RPI, and a win against 3-19 Boulder (No. 54 RPI) still will have the team on the bubble when seeds are distributed next week. Thirty-six teams make the 5A field.
However, Legacy head coach Nicole Coffey thought her team did the best that it could to rally from a 3-0 loss against Fort Collins last week. That loss was preceded by four straight wins.
“We’re hoping that we hold on to that seed and that we can go to regionals with that seed,” Coffey said. “I think it being senior night helped us, because the program looks up to these seniors a lot, and it was good for them to come out here and do what they did.”
Legacy began its route to an eventual sweep by scoring a 12-4 run in game one, and in set two Boulder led by as much as 12-8 and then again at 16-14 before the hosts went on a back-breaking run of six points. Set three began with seven LHS kills among its first nine points scored, and the Lightning weren’t in need of big-time swings in order to build their lead.
Senior setter Emma Quarles was instrumental in setting across the net, but the adjustments made by the hitters made a big difference.
“We worked a lot on placement of the ball and just working around the block, and tonight was about securing the win so we didn’t swing away all the time,” Baum said. “We wanted to play as smart as we could.”
Boulder’s attack was more than adequate, but ball-handling errors and service errors doomed the Panthers in key situations. The Panthers are playing a lot of juniors and younger players this season, and head coach Kyle Rhatigan said Tuesday’s outcome was a microcosm of the season as far as being in games and playing well for stretches at a time, yet just not being able to put it all together.
The Panthers hit .106 for the match, getting seven kills from team leader Emma Bagley. Bagley added 21 digs, as well.
“We stay right with teams for a while but we have had problems finishing games, and often it comes down to shooting ourselves in the foot,” Rhatigan said. “The group is learning to build trust in each other, and it takes time to get to.”
Boulder will close its season Thursday against Arvada West.
Legacy 3, Boulder 0
At Legacy HS
Boulder (3-19, 3-9)162116Legacy (11-12, 6-6)252525
Kills — Boulder: Emma Bagley 7, Abby Aschbacher 6, Tess Difillipi 6, Gabby Rucker 4.
Blocks — Boulder: Rucker 2, Defillipi 2.
Assists — Boulder: Jordan Warner 14, Fiona Quinn 11.
Aces — Boulder: Warner 4, Bagley 2.
Digs — Boulder: Bagley 21.
Note: Legacy stats were not immediately available after the match.