Volleyball: Three teams to host regional tournaments this week

State placement all comes down to this weekend

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

Success in the regular volleyball season has paid off for the Broomfield Eagles, Mead Mavericks and Erie Tigers.

All three teams earned the right to host regional postseason tournaments this weekend, a luxury few teams get throughout the state.

A total of 12 regional volleyball tournaments will be played in each classification between 2A through 5A Friday and Saturday, and from there only one team from each will advance to next weekend’s state tournament at the Denver Coliseum.

Mead is the highest-seeded team in the area, coming in at No. 4 in Class 4A. The Mavericks got out to a 6-1 start that saw them ranked No. 1 in the state, but a pair of tough Tri-Valley League losses to Windsor and Erie in the middle of the conference season saw them drop in the standings. They regrouped and finished the regular season on a 13-game win streak, winning the TVL tournament and the Golden tournament to close the season.

“When we hit that conflict in the middle of the season and lost a couple of games, we had to dig back out of that and learn how to respond from losses,” Mead coach Mikayla Martinez said. “I think they came out of it and they are stronger than they have been before. That’s going to be a key for us.”

Mikayla’s younger sister, Hailee, is in the top 15 in the state with 716 assists and helps run the offense efficiently to a host of players to kill the ball, led by Quincey Coyle with 235. The team is equally as strong defensively both up front with 107 blocks and in the back row with 905 digs, a combination that has taken the Mavericks to a 20-3 record.

Mead will host the 4A Region 4 tournament Friday and welcomes the No. 21 seed Air Academy Kadets (11-12) and the No. 33 seed Cañon City Tigers (15-8). Even as the heavy favorite, the Mavericks have no plans to look past their competition.

“They are both great teams,” Martinez said. “Every team that makes it to regionals plays differently than they do during the regular season. It’s a different game now. It’s a blank slate, and we have to treat each opponent like a faceless opponent. It will be about who shows up and who wants it more.”

Another team from the TVL hosting a regional tournament is Erie, in at No. 8 in Class 4A. The Tigers were 16-7 overall and finished behind Windsor and Mead in the conference standings, but they proved good enough to challenge those teams having beaten them both during the regular season. They were able to get just enough wins to host the No. 17 Palisade Bulldogs (15-8) and the No. 29 seed Lincoln Lancers (16-7) on Saturday.

Erie High School's Lily Kurz (No. ...
Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer
Lily Kurz and the Erie Tigers are set to host a Class 4A regional tournament for the second consecutive season. The Tigers play Saturday morning as one of 11 local teams still alive overall.

“We feel good about it,” Erie coach Molly Creek said. “We’re excited to see some different teams. We haven’t played those teams this year, so that’s nice to see a different group of girls and different volleyball. We get to start fresh and compete against two solid teams this weekend.”

Creek and her team are facing similar circumstances to last season for regionals. The Tigers hosted a regional tournament last year and even beat Lincoln in their first playoff game, but a loss to Silver Creek in the regional final cost them a chance to play at the state tournament.

“We set goals throughout the season, and it all goes back to getting to state,” Creek said. “Once we get through this weekend and make it to state, then we’ll re-visit our goals. This is what the group wants. We’re really excited for this weekend.”

Jessica Amend has the most assists in the state entering this week with 884. Five players have recorded 122 or more kills this year, led by Kate Sebesta with 208. Lindsey Sebesta will lead the defense for the Tigers with her 333 digs.

In Class 5A, the Broomfield Eagles came up one game short of an undefeated record, but their huge turnaround from a 12-13 finish in 2018 to Front Range League champs and a 22-1 record in 2019 has led them to the No. 5 seed in regionals this week.

“The maturity and hard work of my seniors (made the difference),” Broomfield coach Bob Knox said. “I’m blessed to have this group. They are amazing and work together. I’ve never had a team like this that is run by seniors that don’t allow any drama one bit.”

The Eagles have improved as a team in nearly every statistical category from last year, most notably at the net with kills and blocks. Vicki Fankell is leading the team again in kills this year with 243, but she is receiving plenty of help from Hope Hanak-Harper (231 kills) and Sophie Buschmann (154) to create a more dynamic offense. All three have also anchored the defensive efforts up front, and with Cailyn Gasser and her team-leading 58 blocks, the team has 118 total blocks at the net.

Broomfield will host the No. 20 seed Heritage Eagles (14-9) and the No. 32 seed Rangeview Raiders (13-10) Saturday morning with hopes to keep its dream season alive with a trip to the Coliseum.

“In the top 36, anything can happen,” Knox said. “We’re not going to take any team lightly. We need to play with consistency and with a lack of errors (to win).”

Other teams eyeing upsets on road to advance

For the rest of the local teams that qualified for regionals, they will try to pull off an upset or two in their respective regional tournaments to qualify for state, including four teams that played in the state tournament last year.

Prospect Ridge Academy had a dream season making it to its first state tournament appearance in program history last year. After nearly missing out on the chance to host a regional tournament this season, the Miners will head to Eaton with hopes of keeping their dream follow-up season alive on Saturday. Sierra Leopold and Bella Heinmiller will look to lead the offense against The Vanguard School in their first game before a matchup with Class 3A powerhouse Eaton, who has won the state title in six of the past eight years.

Caitlin Volkmann is fourth in the state of Colorado with 397 kills and is having another big season up front to lead Silver Creek. Add in Megan Sotiroff with 232 kills and a front line that has recorded 143 blocks this year, and the Raptors hope to make their presence felt up front when they face Standley Lake and host team Pueblo West on Saturday. The Raptors had success on the road in regionals last year with an upset over Erie in their regional championship to qualify for state.

The other state qualifier from last year that is a middle seed in their regional tournament is Holy Family. The Tigers started the season ranked No. 2 in the polls and got off to a slow start, but thanks to a steady run to close the regular season the team is hopeful their current five-game win streak will be extended. Holy Family will travel to Coronado to face them and The Classical Academy.

Longmont was once outside of the top 36 in the RPI standings in October but moved up in the final weeks to secure one of the final spots for state. They will face a tall task as the lowest seed in the 4A Region 2 tournament Saturday with No. 2 overall seed Montrose and Eagle Valley in the bracket.

Longmont High School's Bridget Kusbel (No. ...
Matthew jonas/Staff Photographer
Longmont will have an uphill battle as the No. 35 seed in Class 4A regional play, but the Trojans have played well of late.

In 5A, Fairview and its strong senior class will travel to Rampart for its regional tournament as the No. 19 seed. Also playing as the No. 19 overall seed for regionals is 2A Dawson, who travels to Simla Friday night for its regional tournament. Lower seed Jefferson Academy travels to University and Peak to Peak will play in Colorado Springs as the lowest seed in their regional brackets and will try to pull off two upsets each in 3A.

Regional tournament schedules

5A Region 5: #5 Broomfield, #20 Heritage, #32 Rangeview

Date: Nov. 9

Location: Broomfield High School

Schedule: 9 a.m. Broomfield vs. Rangeview; 10:30 a.m. Heritage vs. Rangeview; 12 p.m. Broomfield vs. Heritage

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

5A Region 6: #6 Rampart, #19 Fairview, #31 Dakota Ridge

Date: Nov. 9

Location: Rampart High School

Schedule: 10 a.m. Rampart vs. Dakota Ridge; 11:30 a.m. Fairview vs. Dakota Ridge; 1 p.m. Rampart vs. Fairview

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

5A Region 8: #8 Grandview, #17 Loveland, #29 Fossil Ridge

Date: Nov. 8

Location: Grandview High School

Schedule: 4 p.m. Grandview vs. Fossil Ridge; 5:30 p.m. Loveland vs. Fossil Ridge; 7 p.m. Grandview vs. Loveland

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

4A Region 2: #2 Montrose, #23 Eagle Valley, #35 Longmont

Date: Nov. 9

Location: Montrose High School

Schedule: 10 a.m. Montrose vs. Longmont; 11:30 a.m. Eagle Valley vs. Longmont; 1 p.m. Montrose vs. Eagle Valley

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

4A Region 4: #4 Mead, #21 Air Academy, #33 Cañon City

Date: Nov. 8

Location: Mead High School

Schedule: 1 p.m. Mead vs. Cañon City; 2:30 p.m. Air Academy vs. Cañon City; 4 p.m. Mead vs. Air Academy

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

4A Region 6: #6 Coronado, #19 Holy Family, #31 The Classical Academy

Date: Nov. 9

Location: Coronado High School

Schedule: 10 a.m. Coronado vs. The Classical Academy; 11:30 a.m. Holy Family vs. The Classical Academy; 1 p.m. Coronado vs. Holy Family

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

4A Region 7: #7 Pueblo West, #18 Silver Creek, #30 Standley Lake

Date: Nov. 9

Location: Pueblo West High School

Schedule: 10 a.m. Pueblo West vs. Standley Lake; 11:30 a.m. Silver Creek vs. Standley Lake; 1 p.m. Pueblo West vs. Silver Creek

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

4A Region 8: #8 Erie, #17 Palisade, #29 Lincoln

Date: Nov. 9

Location: Erie High School

Schedule: 10 a.m. Erie vs. Lincoln; 11:30 a.m. Palisade vs. Lincoln; 1 p.m. Erie vs. Palisade

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

3A Region 5: #5 Colorado Springs Christian, #20 Valley, #32 Peak to Peak

Date: Nov. 9

Location: Colorado Springs Christian High School

Schedule: 1 p.m. Colorado Springs Christian vs. Peak to Peak; 2:30 p.m. Valley vs. Peak to Peak; 4 p.m. Colorado Springs Christian vs. Valley

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

3A Region 9: #9 University, #16 Bennett, #28 Jefferson Academy

Date: Nov. 8

Location: University High School

Schedule: 4 p.m. University vs. Jefferson Academy; 5:30 p.m. Bennett vs. Jefferson Academy; 7 p.m. University vs. Bennett

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

3A Region 10: #10 Eaton, #15 Prospect Ridge Academy, #27 The Vanguard School

Date: Nov. 9

Location: Eaton High School

Schedule: 12 p.m. Eaton vs. The Vanguard School; 1:30 p.m. Prospect Ridge Academy vs. The Vanguard School; 3 p.m. Eaton vs. Prospect Ridge Academy

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

2A Region 6: #6 Simla, #19 Dawson, #31 John Mall

Date: Nov. 8

Location: Simla High School

Schedule: 4 p.m. Simla vs. John Mall; 5:30 p.m. Dawson vs. John Mall; 7 p.m. Simla vs. Dawson