League and team outlook
FRONT RANGE LEAGUE
Teams and trends: Boulder, Broomfield, Monarch, Fort Collins, Fairview, Fossil Ridge, Horizon, Legacy, Loveland, Poudre and Rocky Mountain. Until Broomfield won the conference title last fall, Fossil Ridge had either won or shared the conference championships for the previous seven straight seasons.
2019 league leaders: Kills: Hannah Serbousek, Fort Collins, 368; Hitting percentage: Trinity Corney, Fort Collins, .425; Assists: Sam Anthony, Fairview, 775; Aces: Grace Whyrick, Greeley West, 77; Blocks: Lauren Strain, Horizon, 127; Digs: Gabi Brown, Boulder, 452.
Numbers game: The Broomfield Eagles won the conference title with a powerful offense last season, but graduated its top two kills leaders from last season in Vikki Fankell and Hope Hanak-Harper … The top seven kills leaders in the FRL last season were seniors and 12 of the top 13 kills leaders graduated … Loveland senior Maddie Kinney is the top returning player in terms of kills after totaling 226 in 2019 … At No. 8, Fort Collins is the highest-ranked team in the CHSAANow.com preseason coaches poll. Broomfield enters the season at No. 10.
Coach: Kyle Rhatigan
The Scorecard: Following a 10-13 season, the Panthers are looking for an above-.500 campaign in Season C and believe they have a returning core of players that can get the job done. Said core includes seniors Gabi Brown, Piper Elbogen-Petterson, Anouk De Lange and Jordan Warner, as well as junior Ainsley Duffield, who led the Panthers in kills last season. Brown also led the Front Range League in digs last season, so the Panthers have good reason to feel confident in their defensive ability.
Coach: Bob Knox
The Scorecard: After winning the league in 2019, the Broomfield Eagles are looking to reload and try to repeat. Ranked No. 10 in Class 5A by the CHSAANow.com preseason coaches poll, Broomfield returns a solid core of senior Courtney Wristen, junior Emma Winter and sophomore Lilia Neill. Despite graduating several talented seniors after last school year, the Eagles appear to have a strong contender in the FRL once again.
Coach: Odette Edbrooke
The Scorecard: After finishing sixth in the FRL with a 16-9 overall record in 2019, the Knights are back and looking to improve on that mark in Season C. They’ll need some new faces to step up in order to accomplish their goals, as the team lost its top three kills leaders and setter Sam Anthony, who led the league in assists, to graduation after last season. Junior Devyn Berg is the top returning hitter for the Knights after posting 148 kills last fall.
Coach: Nicole Coffey
The Scorecard: The Lightning finished last season with a 7-16 overall record and have plans to do better in Season C. Freshman Kayla Dayhuff, who led the team in kills last season, should be back to help contribute to that effort, and classmate Cailea Caiozzi was a BoCo all-region honorable mention as a setter. Other up-and-coming players like senior Sarah Leonard and Alynna Haggadone also emerged as future core players last season, as did sophomore Alexandra Urbina.
Coach: Jennifer Dixon
The Scorecard: Following a 7-16 campaign, the Coyotes are looking forward to another shot at the FRL, and like most teams, are grateful simply to have a season at all. While last season was a rebuilding one, the Coyotes feel more confident in their returning core of players that includes the likes of Emma Kennedy, Lizzy Gawley, Elizabeth Butchko, Sophie Kubiak, Carolyn Jewett and Julia Jupille. With team chemistry on the rise, Monarch expects to improve on last year’s seven-win total.
Teams and trends: Centaurus, Erie, Greeley Central, Greeley West, Holy Family, Longmont, Mead, Silver Creek, Skyline and Windsor.
* The NCAC is a new league that is essentially a combination of teams from the old Northern and Tri-Valley leagues, so there are no statistics from last season.
Coach: CJ Rabinowitz
The Scorecard: The Warriors experienced some growing pains last fall and finished the 2019 season with a 6-17 overall record. But the emergence of players like Hale Burke, Evelyn Romine, Beau Parham and Lily Esterline should give the Warriors reason for optimism if they continue to improve. Playing in a new league, Centaurus will face an interesting new combination of familiar and unfamiliar competition.
Coach: Lindsey Brown
The Scorecard: With a new coach at the helm, the Tigers hope to build on last season’s success after going 19-9 in 2019 and believe they have a good plan in place in order to reach their goals. The Tigers are also ranked No. 9 in the CHSAANow.com preseason poll and return two of their top three kills leaders in senior Lily Kurz and Maggie Olson. Brown has been impressed by the team’s leadership early on and it is fun to see everything come together on and off the court.
Holy Family Tigers
Coach: Jenna Gallas
The Scorecard: The Tigers graduated some solid seniors, including all state second-team libero Peyton Frank, after last season’s 13-12 effort and have a new head coach in Jenna Gallas running the show for Season C. With plenty of change happening, Holy Family will likely lean heavily on some new players like junior Anna Hodell, who was second on the team in kills last fall. To start the new campaign, the Tigers were voted No. 13 in the CHSAANow.com preseason coaches poll.
Coach: Aaron Herbert
The Scorecard: The Trojans went 15-10 last season and will be playing under an interim head coach in Aaron Herbert this season. Playing in a tough conference that includes several returning state and regional qualifiers, the Trojans still expect to be competitive in every match. With that goal in mind, the 12th-ranked Longmont squad returns a solid core, including senior Payton Jonason and Bridget Kusbel.
Coach: Mikayla Martinez
The Scorecard: Mead had quite the successful season in 2019, going 22-5 and reaching the state tournament in Class 4A. The Mavericks enter the new Season C campaign at No. 5 in the preseason coaches poll and with returning all-state honorable mention players Quincey Coyle and Hailee Martinez helping to lead the way. The team’s digs leader, Lauren Steidl, is also back in the mix and the Mavericks feel confident they can compete for a conference title in the NCAC.
Silver Creek Raptors
Coach: John Miller
The Scorecard: For years, the Silver Creek volleyball team relied on star hitter Caitlin Volkmann to drive their offense and now that she’s gone, the Raptors’ attack will look very different in Season C. But the Raptors didn’t win 19 games last season because of one player and others like Megan Sotiroff, Kaylynn Wolfe and Emma Stenner were critical contributors as well.
Coach: Susan Karimi
The Scorecard: The Falcons graduated the majority of last year’s lineup but have a strong senior class that Karimi believes will be capable of filling that void on the floor. Skyline’s strength will be its defense with players like Amber Fleming and Aubrey Scott leading the way. And with a new coaching staff that has brought a new energy to practice, the Falcons are looking to build on the momentum they’ve been creating over the past several years.
LONGS PEAK LEAGUE
Teams and trends: Berthoud, Frederick, Fort Morgan, Mountain View, Niwot, Northridge, Riverdale Ridge, Roosevelt, Severance and Thompson Valley.
* The Longs Peak League is a new league that is essentially a combination of teams from the old Northern and Tri-Valley leagues, so there are no statistics from last season.
Coach: Susanne Robison
The Scorecard: Excited to see what the new Longs Peak League has in store, Robison said the Warriors hope the new conference gives them an opportunity to grow and show what they can do. The team was young last season and went 11-12, but now has more returning experience in returning seniors Abby Awad, Kenna Tarnowski and Ashlynn Grant Miller, as well as junior Kinley Lindhardt.
Coach: Daisha Agho
The Scorecard: Last fall was a bit of a down season for the Cougars, who will be looking to improve on a 8-15 record with a ton of returning starters back in the mix. Niwot returns its top six kills leaders from last season, including Natasha Terkhova, Zoe Gibbs and Mackenzie Demmel. Filled with optimism from the growth and maturation she has seen, head coach Daisha Agho said she expected the Cougars to have a return to form and look more like the team did when it finished as state runner-up in 2018.
Teams and trends: Colorado Academy, Bishop Machebeuf, Faith Christian, Jefferson Academy, Kent Denver, Lutheran, Manual, Peak to Peak, Prospect Ridge, SkyView Academy, St. Mary’s Academy and Stargate School. After winning the Class 3A state championship in 2018, Lutheran advanced all the way to the Final Four last season before being eliminated by Alamosa.
2019 league leaders: Kills: Payton Brgoch, Lutheran, 329; Hitting percentage: Sierra Leopold, Prospect Ridge, .524; Assists: Sabina King, Lutheran, 632; Blocks: Saera Chung, St. Mary’s Academy, 110; Aces: Allure Padilla, Faith Christian, 59; Digs: Bella Vezzani, Lutheran, 507.
Numbers game: Lutheran enters the season ranked No. 3 in Class 3A by the CHSAANow.com coaches poll … In Payton Brgoch, the Class 3A player of the year, and Kennedey Johnson, Lutheran had two of the league’s top three hitters in terms of kill last season, but both have graduated … Prospect Ridge’s Sierra Leopold led the Metro League in hitting percentage last season and is the top returning offensive player after also posting 265 kills in 2019 … Lutheran’s Sabrina King is back after leading the league with 632 assists in 2019.
Jefferson Academy Jaguars
Coach: Kyrie Adams
The Scorecard: With head coach Kyrie Adams in the top spot, the Jaguars graduated their top two kills leaders from last season. But after that, they have a solid core of rising seniors that includes Aaliyah Robinson, Haylee Floyd, Jessica Franson and Sonya Strauss. It has been a while since the Jaguars had a winning season, so that figures to be the goal in Season C.
Peak to Peak Pumas
Coach: Chris Cranor
The Scorecard: The Pumas finished the 2019 campaign with a 10-15 record largely because they lost their leading hitter and server when both Kiehl sisters, Paris and Sophie, went down with injuries early last season. Both return, headlining a group that includes Baily Patterson, Sarah McLaughlan, Elizabeth Boian, Rory West, Taya Kendrick and Grace Langlois. Add talented sophomore Sophie Hey to the middle and the Pumas expect to be a much-improved club in Season C.
Prospect Ridge Miners
Coach: Rachel Renville
The Scorecard: Prospect Ridge reached the state tournament in 2018 and went 15-10 last fall, so they Miners have been building quite the reputation as a successful young program. Miners senior Sierra Leopold led the league in hitting percentage last season and had the most kills of any returning player in Season C, and having her back in the mix should help PRA keep things moving in the right direction.
MILE HIGH LEAGUE
Teams and trends: Dayspring Christian Academy, Longmont Christian, Nederland, Clear Creek, Dawson School, Denver Academy, Denver Christian, Front Range Christian, Gilpin County, Heritage Christian, Highlands, Loveland Classical, Lyons, Twin Peaks Charter and Union Colony Prep. Defending Class 2A state champion Denver Christian has dominated the Mile High League over the past two seasons, going unbeaten in conference play while advancing to the past two state championship matches.
2019 league leaders: Kills: Jacki Bogner, Denver Christian, 418; Hitting percentage: Jacki Bogner, Denver Christian, .407; Assists: Desirae Pisano, Union Colony Prep, 709; Aces: Jacki Bogner, Denver Christian, 93; Blocks: Mayson Fago, Union Colony Prep, 134; Digs: Zeda Taylor, Clear Creek, 464.
Numbers game: After winning the Class 2A title in 2019, the Denver Christian Thunder enters Season C ranked No. 1 by the CHSAANow.com coaches poll … The top-ranked Thunder also return two of their top three kills leaders from last season, including senior and reigning Class 2A player of the year Jacki Bogner … Nine of last year’s top 11 players in terms of hitting percentage are back in the fold for Season C.
Dawson School’s Nicole Scribner, rightDawson School Mustangs
Coach: Brandy Martin
The Scorecard: The Mustangs were solid last season, finishing the 2019 campaign with a 16-9 record. They were also led in kills by a quartet of juniors — Isabella Jurika, Nicole Scribner (all-state honorable mention), Dagney Javes and Angelina Sala — so the team should be an experienced group in Season C.
Longmont Christian Warriors
Coach: Ruka Armstrong
The Scorecard: The Warriors won just three games last season but they’re hoping to improve on that mark, and will attempt to do so with yet another new head coach at the helm. Last season, the Warriors were led by a solid group of juniors that included Taylor Vandenburg, Ellie Echols and Jenna Scheuerman, so they should be a more seasoned group in Season C if all their players return from last season.
Coach: Sarah Steele
The Scorecard: Last season, the Lions went 9-13 and they’ll be looking for a return to the winning side of things where they lived for several years prior to 2019. Do-it-all senior Avery Joy led the club with 132 kills, 230 assists and 35 aces last season. Kayla Valentine led Lyons with 24 total blocks.
Coach: Suzie Muldoone
The Scorecard: The Panthers return once again following a season in which they won just one game in league play and one game overall. Things don’t figure to get any easier for the Panthers, but they will look to improve on that mark in Season C. Nederland’s two wins over the past two years have come against Twin Peaks Charter and Flatirons Academy.
Twin Peaks Timberwolves
Coach: Colleen Finlayson
The Scorecard: Last fall was not kind to the Timberwolves, who went 0-22 after winning four games the previous season. Ehreem Barila, Leah Dawson and Emily Silver were among the on-floor leaders for the Timberwolves, who intend to give it their best effort to snag a win or two in a tough Mile High League.
Teams and trends: Belleview Christian, Rocky Mountain Lutheran, Beth Eden Baptist, Denver Academy of Torah, Denver Jewish Day, Denver Waldorf, Flatirons Academy, Front Range Baptist, Mile High Academy, Shining Mountain. Mile High Academy claimed the 5280 League championship last season, going 8-0 in conference play.
* 2019 season statistical leaders could not be obtained via MaxPreps.com.
Shining Mountain Lions
Coach: Kaiya Whitehead
The Scorecard: The Lions went 9-10 overall and finished 4-4 in league play last season, so they’ll be looking to get back over the .500 mark in Season C. Cami Clark led last year’s team in kills and freshman Anna Gromicko led the Lions in hitting percentage. Kalea Zeender led the team in aces and Sophia Matarresse led the team in total blocks. Olivia Jabari led the Lions in digs.
Bringing it home: recent state champions
2019 — Chaparral (5A), Lewis-Palmer (4A), Sterling (3A), Denver Christian (2A), Fleming (1A).
2018 — Valor Christian (5A), Lewis-Palmer (4A), Lutheran (3A), Yuma (2A), Kit Carson (1A).
2017 — Castle View (5A), Lewis-Palmer (4A), Eaton (3A), Lyons (2A), Kit Carson (1A).
2016 — Fossil Ridge (5A), Lewis-Palmer (4A), Eaton (3A), Dayspring Christian (2A), Fleming (1A).
2015 — Cherokee Trail (5A), Cheyenne Mountain (4A), Eaton (3A), Yuma (2A), Otis (1A).
2014 — Grandview (5A), Lewis-Palmer (4A), Eaton (3A), Resurrection Christian (2A), Fleming (1A).
Point me to the postseason
All classifications must wrap up the regular season by April 24, ahead of three-team regional tournaments to be held on May 1. Regional winners automatically earn a trip to the state tournament, an eight-team, single-elimination tournament to run on May 10-11.