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The Erie volleyball team celebrates a ...
Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer
The Erie Tigers will meet up with Niwot in the Class 4A regional hosted Saturday by Palmer Ridge High School in Monument.

The 2021 spring volleyball season has drawn to a close as an exciting postseason begins to gear up. This year, only eight teams per classification will get a chance at state tournament glory, making the stakes higher than ever.

This weekend, each class will hold eight, three-team regionals across Colorado to determine who will make it to the coveted big stage. Eight local teams will each get the chance to make their case on Saturday. Whichever teams win two matches at their respective tournaments will punch their tickets to state.

A look at the regionals with local participants:

Class 5A Region 5: No. 5 Cherry Creek, No. 12 Valor Christian, No. 20 Broomfield at CCHS

In finishing its regular season with a 9-4 record and second in the Front Range League, Broomfield earned the No. 20 seed in Class 5A.

Saturday, the Eagles will travel to No. 5 Cherry Creek (13-1) to take on the Bruins at 9 a.m. before going head-to-head against No. 12 Valor Christian (7-4). The Eagles enjoyed a strong attack through their 13 matches as they garnered 520 total kills, mainly from Sophie Buschmann (149) and Emma Winter (107). Kennedy Nelson (159 digs), Winter (105) and Buschmann (101) all pace the defense.

Cherry Creek boasts two of 5A Colorado’s best hitters in Carter Booth (153 kills, 11th) and Courtney Wisneski (150 kills, 13th). Kaegan Wherry, likewise, is 28th with 156 digs.

Valor Christian houses a strong setter in Stevie Vigil, who owns 319 assists. Taylor Bowman, the No. 21 blocker in the state, has 34 blocks to her name. Delaney Russell has proven herself to be a premiere defender with 161 digs (ranked 24th).

Class 4A Region 2: No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain, No. 15 Holy Family, No. 23 Weld Central at CMHS

Holy Family completed its 2021 slate with an 8-3 record and at fifth place in the NCAC League. That was good enough to earn the Tigers a No. 15 seed for 4A regionals.

They’ll head down south to No. 2 Cheyenne Mountain as they also set their sights on No. 23 Weld Central. The Tigers boast a robust front line as killer queen Anna Hodell (103 kills) leads the Tigers (390 total kills). Madison Forss (150 digs) paces the defense from the back row (485 digs).

Holy Family will begin its regional playing Weld Central (10-4) in the second match of the day before moving onto host Cheyenne Mountain. Weld Central boasts 4A Colorado top-50 players in two categories: Kyleigh Cardillo (151 digs, 45th) and Paige Morgan (28 aces, 45th).

After taking care of the Rebels, the Tigers will come face-to-face with a much more formidable Cheyenne Mountain (10-2). The hosts’ talent is nothing to scoff at as they house two top-10 athletes: Emma Delich (153 kills, 10th) and Jessie Duytschaever (410 assists, fourth).

Class 4A Region 5: No. 5 Coronado, No. 12 Frederick, No. 20 Montrose at CHS

Frederick earned a No. 12 seed after garnering a 12-2 record, good for third in the 4A/3A Longs Peak League. They’ll play at No. 5 Coronado and against No. 20 Montrose for matches two and three on Saturday.

Frederick has two dangerous hitters in Kinley Lindhardt (168 kills) and Katelin Sindelar (118) and three defensive giants in Kendal Rivera (203 digs), Ashley Livingston (115) and Lindhardt (107). Frederick will battle with Montrose (8-6) first, which houses daunting athletes in Kelsey Rocco (197 kills, third in Colorado) and Madisen Matoush (248 digs, fifth).

Coronado will be even more of a challenge, even though the 10-0 Cougars don’t exhibit many stat leaders in the state, except for Rachel Scott (200 assists, 34th) and Maycie Rogers (28 aces, 46th).

Timothy Hurst/Staff Photographer
Mead volleyball will host two other teams in the Class 4A Region 6 tournament.

Class 4A Region 6: No. 6 Mead, No. 11 Skyview, No. 19 Steamboat Springs at MHS

Mead dominated its 5A/4A NCAC League with a 9-3 overall record and a second-place finish, marks that were good enough to earn the Mavericks a No. 6 seed and hosting honor in their regional.

The Mavericks take pride in the top setter in 4A in Hailee Martinez (460 assists) while also housing three exceptionally talented hitters: Kenzie Morton (138 kills), Quincey Coyle (129) and Morgan Munro (102). Lauren Steidl leads the defense with 116 digs.

Mead will open the tournament against Steamboat Springs (9-4), who holds strong performers with Lauren Fullerton (229 digs, 12th in state) and Emily Schneider (258 assists, 20th). The Mavericks will then try to take down undefeated Skyview (13-0), which boasts top-15 competitors in Alexis Becerra (155 kills, eighth; 39 aces, 11th), Jasmynn Calderon (338 assists, 12th; 229 digs, 11th), Joselynn Calderon (63 aces, first) and Marcela Calderon (40 aces, ninth).

Class 4A Region 7: No. 7 Palmer Ridge, No. 10 Niwot, No. 18 Erie at PRHS

Niwot (11-2) earned a 10 seed after finishing its season second in the 4A/3A Longs Peak League and will travel to No. 7 Palmer Ridge and it also faces off with No. 18 Erie.

The Cougars have enjoyed top talent in Varshini Panuganti (234 digs, ninth in state), Angie Xu (394 assists, fifth) and Zoe Gibbs (151 kills, 11th). They will play the last two matches of the day, first against Erie and lastly against Palmer Ridge.

Erie (8-5) took third in the 5A/4A NCAC League. The Tigers have relied on the skill sets of Maggie Olson (171 kills, fourth), Peyton Michaelson (150 kills, 13th) and Lily Kurz (40 blocks, 17th) to drive their success this season. Both the Cougars and the Tigers will need to be on their A-game if they hope to defeat Palmer Ridge.

The Bears (8-5) excel on both offense and defense as Elaina Della Rossa (202 digs, 18th), Madison Wilson (41 blocks, 14th), Kyra Kisting (342 assists, 11th) lead the way.

Class 3A Region 7: No. 7 DSST Montview, No. 10 Prospect Ridge, No. 18 St. Mary’s at DSST

Prospect Ridge Academy (12-1) ended the regular season second in the 3A Metro League. The Miners will take the last two matches of Saturday’s regional, first against St. Mary’s and then host DSST: Montview.

The Miners relied on Sierra Leopold (133 kills) and Bella Heinmiller (105) to take the reins on most of their hitting as Ella Young (123 digs) and Heinmiller (119) took charge from the back row. They’ll certainly have their work cut out for them throughout the tournament.

St. Mary’s (10-4) leaned on talent from Peyton Priddy (450 assists, first), Jillian Kellick (199 kills, fourth; 48 blocks, ninth) and Emma White (41 aces, 17th) to carry them this season. DSST: Montview (12-1) likewise earned its victories on the backs of the entire team, but Claire Berns (391 assists, seventh) stands out.

Class 2A Region 1: No. 1 Wiggins, No. 16 Dawson, No. 24 Olathe at WHS

Dawson earned a 16 seed after finishing out 9-4 and third in the 3A/2A/1A Mile High League. The Mustangs will play the last two matches of their regional.

The Mustangs have plenty of skill, but no one stands out like Angelina Sala (332 assists, eighth in state) and Dagney Javes (143 kills, 17th). They’ll need their leadership when they take on Olathe, then Wiggins.

Olathe (9-5) has looked to Ashlee Green (90 blocks, first), Anastasia Bollinger (267 digs, fifth) and Makena Liles (261 assists, 16th) to drive most of its success.

Wiggins has fought through an incredibly tough schedule to come out on top at 12-2. The Tigers take pride in Avery Burdette (345 digs, first) and Jenna White (329 assists, ninth) as they rely mostly on a true team culture. They’ll be a tough team to beat.

Dawson senior Elizabeth McKean (14) jumps ...
Tim Hurst/Staff Photographer
Dawson heads to Wiggins on Saturday for a chance to earn a state tournament bid in Class 2A.