No team in the state has won more championships than the Broncos, who have 14 overall. But the last one came in 2003, and in recent years it's been the Eaton
and Valley (Gilcrest)
show. The Reds have won five Class 3A state titles in a row.
So when Platte Valley closed out the regular season with a perfect showing in the Patriot League to claim the league crown – not to mention a victory over Eaton on Oct. 16 – it meant quite a bit to the team. First-year coach Tonya Davies, whose Broncos (22-3) are the No. 4 seed headed into the 3A state tournament Thursday at the Denver Coliseum, appreciated how badly her players wanted that success.
"Being new to Platte Valley I don't know the history, but I do know for the girls – especially the seniors who have been here four years – it was a breath of fresh air to be able to overcome that," Davies said. "The goal they had set for themselves for three or four years now, they wanted to win league and play against Eaton and (University) and Valley and win those type of matches. They achieved that this year."
"It's a great league to be part of. It has its ups and downs, obviously," Davies said. "We just focus on one match at a time and we hope we make big plays at critical times and come away with the win."
New to state this fall is a double-elimination format, which replaces pool play. The format holds until the semifinals, when the tournament switches back to single-elimination.
"I really like it and I am intrigued to see how it goes," Davies said. "Historically with pool play, if you lose a match it's almost guaranteed you're not really going to do anything past that. With the consolation bracket I like that there is still hope that you can get back into it."
Platte Valley hadn't made it out of pool play since advancing to the semifinals in 2012. But under the guidance of Davies and assistant Rayleigh Haynes, the Broncos put together a strong offseason program that carried over into the fall. Davies said the coaches had high expectations, "but the girls reacted to meet it every single day."
The team's balance makes it difficult for opponents to single out one or two players to stop on a nightly basis. Junior Claire Smith
leads the team with 205 kills, but seniors Faith Fetzer
, Annika Zenk
and Brianna Ley
combined for nearly 500 kills between them.
"Our girls have played selfless. It's about the team," Davies said. "Maddie does a great job finding the person who is going to score on that specific day. Our kill leader can be a different girl each night; we stay really balanced, and it's nice to see anybody can step up at any given time."
Two semifinalists will be determined Friday, with the other two coming out of the consolation bracket Saturday morning. The semifinals are Saturday afternoon, with the championship matches set for 6 p.m. Saturday.
Here is a state overview for each of the state's five classifications:Class 5A
1. Chaparral (Parker)
, 2. Cherokee Trail (Aurora)
, 3. Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch)
, 4. Windsor
Chaparral is one of three teams with 23-2 records (Fossil Ridge and Valor Christian are the others).
The Wolverines are also the only team to hand 4A defending champion
a loss this fall, though the Rangers repaid the favor later in the season. Senior Kira Thomsen
leads a balanced lineup with 293 kills as Chaparral looks to claim its first title since going back-to-back in 2010-11. … Cherokee Trail finished in a three-way tie for second in the Centennial League with fellow state qualifiers Eaglecrest (Centennial)
and Grandview (Aurora)
. Cherry Creek (Greenwood Village)
won the league title and is the No. 6 seed. … Junior Sydney Cole
paced Cherokee Trail at 10.3 assists a set. Junior Kealey Marshall
has 375 digs. … Valor Christian, the 2017 runner-up, moved up to 5A and didn't skip a beat. The Eagles lost to Lewis-Palmer twice, and won a Jeffco League that also has Chatfield (Littleton)
and Ralston Valley (Arvada)
in the state field. Senior Lily Thomason
leads three players with more than 200 kills at 244. … Windsor senior Hollie Hoffman
's 410 digs paced the Wizards. …Fossil Ridge (Fort Collins)
senior Riley Zuhn
is fifth in 5A in kills with 299, one of three SaberCats with at least 200 kills. The team's only two losses came to 5A No. 1 Chaparral and 4A No. 1 Lewis-Palmer. … Grandview (10-15) was the 31st of 36 seeds overall, but upset No. 6 Fort Collins and No. 19 Mountain Vista in five-set thrillers to reach state. Class 4A
1. Lewis-Palmer, 2. Discovery Canyon (Colorado Springs)
, 3. Niwot
, 4. Longmont
Top-seeded Lewis-Palmer has won four of the previous five 4A titles, including the past two. The Rangers (24-1) have eight seniors, and lost only to 5A Chaparral this fall. Junior Gianna Bartalo
has 380 digs on the season. … Discovery Canyon (23-2) finished second to Lewis-Palmer in the Pikes Peak League. Senior Ashten Prechtel
is a block machine at the net with 158 total blocks. … Niwot, Longmont and Silver Creek (Longmont)
each reached state out of the Northern League. Niwot and Longmont split its regular-season league meetings. … The Cougars have six players with more than 100 digs, led by Audrey Richard
's 222. Longmont's Ellen Goodwin
is one dig shy of 400. … Evergreen
senior Claudia Dillon
's 366 kills and 80 total blocks lead the sixth-seeded Cougars. … Holy Family (Broomfield)
senior Ali Travis
has 388 kills, and junior Peyton Frank
notched 581 digs. The Tigers' only league loss came to 5A Windsor. … Two lower seeds – No. 25 Cheyenne Mountain (Colorado Springs)
and No. 27 Berthoud
– pulled upsets in regional play to make it to state. Class 3A
1. Lutheran, 2. Alamosa
, 3. University, 4. Platte Valley // BracketOverview:
A year after finishing as the runner-up to Eaton, Lutheran enters state as the top overall seed. The
Lions' only loss came to seventh-seeded
Faith Christian (Arvada)
during Metro League play. Junior Payton Brgoch
(317 kills, 71 blocks) is a force at the net for Lutheran. … Alamosa (25-0) is the only undefeated team in the field. The Mean Moose dropped only six sets all season. Four players have at least 150 kills, led by Sylvie Caton
(203). … University is 22-3, with its only losses coming to Lutheran, Platte Valley and Eaton. Four players topped 240 digs, with senior Abby Schaefer
leading the way at 362. … Eaton (14-8) dropped only one match to a 3A opponent, and that was Platte Valley. Senior Mackenzie Harris
has 390 kills and 251 digs. … Colorado Springs Christian
rebounded from a down year and enters state with 21 victories. Sophomore Kiersten Brock
averages 11.5 assists a set.Class 2A
, 2. Denver Christian
, 3. Meeker
, 4. Wiggins
Yuma won the 2016 title, but has finished as the runner-up in three of the previous four seasons. The Indians went 24-1 this fall, with the only loss to coming to 3A University. Seniors Chasey Blach
(350 kills, 90 blocks, 240 digs) and Cody Robinson
(278 kills, 347 digs) lead the way for Yuma headed into state. … Denver Christian (24-1) continues its resurgence. The Thunder's only loss came to undefeated 3A squad Alamosa. Sophomore Jacki Bogner
has 314 kills and junior Anna Kaemingk
has 252. … Meeker is undefeated at 25-0. Senior Krissie Luce
paces the Cowboys with 245 kills and Kassie Luce
has 785 assists. Lila Klinglesmith
's 425 digs are a team-high. … Wiggins (22-2) lost to Lyons
in a tiebreaker last November and just missed out on a semifinal berth. Senior Tanna Hansen
has 359 kills and senior Chloe Baker
sets up the offense with 904 assists. … Defending champion Lyons needed five sets to take down Hoehne in regional play to reach state. Junior Taylor Maguire
has 403 kills and 334 digs.Class 1A
1. Kit Carson
, 2. Otis
, 3. La Veta
, 4. Weldon Valley (Weldona)
Defending state champion Kit Carson (15-1) enters state having dropped only six sets all season, three of which came in a loss to 2A's No. 1 Yuma. Senior Tess Hornung
has 264 kills and 324 digs. … Otis comes into state at 19-1 and four players with at least 133 kills, led by senior MaKenna Metzler
's 254. … La Veta's only loss thus far was a five-set contest with Kit Carson. Senior Kaylee Corsentino
anchors the Redskins at the net with 307 kills. … Weldon Valley went on the road to win Region D. The Warriors (17-3) have senior Kaybree Keating
(250 kills, 320 digs) leading a balanced attack. … Ten times in the previous 12 seasons Fleming has reached the 1A title game. But Merino
denied Fleming a state berth by winning Region H. Sophomore Faith Trenkle
owns 504 digs on the season.