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Doherty, Cheyenne Mountain are top seeds as area well-respected in volleyball
The Colorado Springs area boasts a growing reputation as a volleyball hotbed, and the regional brackets that were announced Monday reflect that status.
Doherty drew the No. 1 seed in 5A, Cheyenne Mountain and Lewis-Palmer were Nos. 1 and 2 in 4A and seven local teams will host regionals this weekend, where only the winners advance to state.
Coronado (No. 7 in 4A), St. Mary’s (No. 5 in 3A), CSCS (No. 10 in 3A) and Manitou Springs (No. 12 in 3A) will also serve as hosts of three-team fields.
Doherty’s top ranking came as no surprise, as the Spartans (23-0) are unbeaten and have won 64 of 68 games this season.
“I feel really good,” Spartans coach Tara Hittle said.
Hittle was the state’s player of the year in 2003 as Doherty won the 5A title. The Spartans were also in the semifinals along with Pine Creek in 2010, as they are part of the area’s rich recent history in the sport that also includes dynasties from CSCS (six 3A titles in a row from 2004-2009) and Cheyenne Mountain (currently at four in a row in 4A).
That the Indians will go for No. 5 as the top seed was something as a surprise, as they earned the spot despite a second-place finish in its league after losing their head-to-head matchup to Lewis-Palmer.
The committee uses the MaxPreps state ranking as its primary guide, and Cheyenne Mountain finished sixth overall in Colorado thanks to a loaded schedule that included Doherty twice and two-time defending 5A champion Chaparral two times. The Indians beat Chaparral on Saturday.
The Rangers, who defeated the Indians 28-26, 26-24, 20-25, 25-23 at home on Oct. 16, were No. 7 in those rankings.
“You look at that one-on-one matchup and of course you’d have to give it to L-P,” Cheyenne Mountain coach David Barkley said. “But when you look at the algorithms of MaxPreps, that’s more body of work, and for whatever reason that’s how it came out.”
Barkley was just happy that the Indians and Rangers, as it stands, would be on opposite sides of the bracket and would meet in the state finals instead of semifinals.
“If anything, this will probably give Lewis-Palmer more motivation,” he added.
Other 5A representatives from the area are Pine Creek (No. 14 at Heritage), Rampart (No. 21 at Cherry Creek) and Liberty (No. 34, at Chaparral).
In 4A, the teams still alive are Air Academy (No. 13, at Ponderosa), Mesa Ridge (No. 23, at Lewis-Palmer), Falcon (No. 28, at Thomas Jefferson), Palmer Ridge (No. 32 at Valor Christian) and Cañon City (No. 36 at Cheyenne Mountain).
TCA is the only local 3A team to advance and not host. The Titans are seeded 16th and travel to Sterling.
The 2A teams still in contention are Colorado Springs School (at Lutheran) and Calhan (at Simla).
Edison is the region’s lone 1A team to advance and will be at Stratton.