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TCA and CSCS will clash Saturday with possible 3A semifinal berth at stake
DENVER • How fitting. The Classical Academy and Colorado Springs Christian School will be playing each other with a possible berth in the 3A state volleyball semifinals on the line.
TCA showed plenty of life under new coach Sue Reininger, and CSCS grew up quickly Friday.
Only two CSCS players knew what it was like to take the court at the Denver Coliseum for the state volleyball tournament. By the end of the first match, the No. 6 Lions (20-7) had gotten a feel for the tournament, and it showed when they pushed No. 2 Bayfield to five games before losing their second match.
No. 7 TCA (17-9) went one better than the Lions, beating Bayfield in the Titans’ first match. They dropped the second match to No. 3 Valley, but a win over rival CSCS will put them in prime position to advance. Knowing that they’ll have to beat the Lions could make it all that much sweeter.
“We love to play CSCS, because we get up for it,” Reininger said. “They’re a great group of girls. I think we have a great group of girls, and it’s always just an awesome match.”
The Titans coach took the reins all of three weeks ago — for first-year coach Erin Stone, who resigned according to Reininger — the Tuesday before districts. That change has the Titans looking to beat CSCS today, a team that swept them head to head this year, 3-0 at TCA and 3-2 at home.
“She’s my mom, so I love her as my mom, but I have a lot of respect for her as a coach,” said senior Katie Reininger. “She definitely knows what she’s doing. She’s come in and steered us in the right direction with her cool, calm attitude.”
The coaching change has brought a complete turnaround.
“It’s very different,” Katie said. “It’s controlled and precise. We have a mission.”
The Lions are 0-2 in pool play heading into today. Before falling to Bayfield, they lost to Valley in four games. In that game, Evans said her players looked nervous.
“To actually go out in that kind of environment is totally different,” first-year CSCS coach Jennifer Evans said. “You’re kind of in a pit with all the other people yelling down at you ... there’s lots of factors they’ve never had to deal with before.”
Evans has watched the new-look Titans and knows they’ll be a stiff challenge.
“It’s kind of ironic that it comes down to that,” Evans said. “It’s hard to play against a team that we’ve played against twice already. ... The (TCA players) are placed in different places and they’re being utilized differently, which I think is helping them.”
Lions senior Summer Greagor doesn’t care how well the Titans are playing.
“We’re pumped for it for sure,” Greagor said. “We haven’t lost to TCA in years, and we’re not going to start now.”
But in this meeting, TCA has something bigger to play for, a berth in the state semifinals.
“We’ve improved as a team so much since the last time we played them,” Katie said. “Last time we took two games from them, and that wasn’t even our best. We are so psyched for (today).”