This year's Cedaredge High School volleyball team may have surprised lots of folks, but not the Bruins' volleyball team. Even without dominant team members from a year ago, the Bruins figured out what was needed to move on to the next level and achieved that goal in 2017.
The Bruins finished fourth, 6-3, in 3A WSL play and made it into post-season playoffs where they made some noise in Region 9.
Listed as the 28th seed, Cedaredge was matched against host school, and No. 9 Bennett in a first round match-up. The Bruins stunned Bennett with a 3-2 win and anticipation was high with No. 16 Eagle Ridge Academy next on the list. The Warriors, out of Brighton, had to start from behind to earn a 3-1 decision and possibly win the region title with a victory over Bennett. The Tigers had other thoughts as they blanked Eagle Ridge 3-0 to give each team in Region 9 a win and a loss.
The tie-breaker involved a playoff which saw Eagle Ridge sneak past the Bruins, 25-21, in the first match. Bennett, with a win over Eagle Ridge, would win the Region 9 title and advance to this week's state volleyball championships. The Tigers came out fighting and were able to overpower Eagle Ridge, 25-13, to win the region's qualifying berth.
Bruins 3, Bennett 2
After the first set had been played, emotions were high for Cedaredge. The 25-21 win in set one had many connotations. Bennett's 25-19 win in set two evened the match to bring the game back to reality.
Cedaredge gained another emotional high, and momentum, with the third-set win (25-16) but quickly fell back to Earth with a 9-25 loss in set four.
The two teams battled back-and-forth in set five before Cedaredge came away with an exciting 16-14 win and the match victory, 3-2.
Courtney Freeman was a force at the net with her 13 kills and Makayla Kehmeier's seven kills and Holly Jenkins' five kills provided much needed backup.
Kehmeier was solid from the service line with three aces and Mikayla Underwood added two more for quick points. Underwood also contributed 16 assists for the Bruins.
Warriors 3, Bruins 1
Eagle Ridge had to change its plans following a 25-23 loss in the first set of this match.
Whatever was discussed by Eagle Ridge worked as the Warriors won set two, 25-11, and tied the match.
The Warriors had the momentum after that and won the next two sets, 25-19 and 25-17, for the match win.
Kehmeier had some top stats in several categories with three aces, seven kills and 22 digs. Freeman continued to be a leader in several categories as well with 13 kills, 19 receptions and 17 digs.
Underwood had two aces, 14 assists and 22 digs for the Bruins. Jade McGovern finished with 29 receptions and 30 digs and Jenkins had six kills.
Eagle Ridge Academy and Cedaredge took the floor in set one of a tie-breaker playoff.
The Warriors were not dominant against Cedaredge but did have enough mojo to ease past the Bruins 25-21 for a victory. That win set up the determining Region 9 champion with Bennett and Eagle Ridge playing for the title.
The Warriors had nothing left for Bennett in the final set and were eliminated by the Tigers in a 25-13 loss.
Bennett will join 11 other Class 3A qualifiers in Denver (Denver Coliseum) for the 43rd annual State Volleyball Championships.
Sixty of the state's top teams will vie for state titles in five classifications. Action is set to begin at 8 a.m. Friday, Nov. 10, with pool play.
Pool play concludes on Saturday, Nov. 11, with pools playing a crossover semifinal round before starting the championship matches at 7 p.m. The complete schedule of matches can be found at CHSAANow.com.