The Arvada West Wildcats looked really good in the season opener against Broomfield — only they lost the match.
The Wildcats were beat by the Eagles 3-2 (25-27, 25-13, 17-25, 25-22, 2-15) in a thriller that went back and forth and was evenly matched until the final set.
A-West senior Mikaila Paxton led the Wildcats with 13 kills and helped overpower Broomfield during stretches of the match.
Paxton and sophomore Aza Underwood (nine kills) helped push the Eagles for four full sets but the youth of Arvada West caught up with them in the final set.
That is when Broomfield’s senior leadership caught up with A-West, as senior’s Callie Kaiser and Tori Biggerstaff helped take over the match down the stretch.
Kaiser recorded 19 kills and routinely made big plays to keep Broomfield in control and Biggerstaff’s 15 kills were the third most by any player in the match.
But Broomfield wasn’t just a dynamic duo. It took a total team effort for the Eagles to hold off the Wildcats.
Junior Kaley Radcliff led Broomfield with 25 digs and sophomore Madi Rademacher led all players with six blocks and six aces.
Arvada West junior Amalia Linton led her team with 14 digs and junior Kayla Sanchez led the Wildcats with 26 assists.
A-West played hard for all five sets and at times looked superior to Broomfield, but the Wildcats are also one of the youngest teams in 5A Jeffco with only three seniors on their roster.
On the other hand, Broomfield has several key players who are all seniors and who all stepped up when called on.
A-West and Broomfield were both middle-tier teams in their leagues last season, both looking to take a big step this season. And despite the loss for Arvada West both teams still could make that leap to the top of their league standings.
A-West finished 11-11 (3-5 in league) last season behind several really good teams like Lakewood, Ralston Valley and Bear Creek. This season the Wildcats plan on finishing the season as a top three team in 5A Jeffco.
Broomfield struggled last season and finished 9-16 (5-9 in league). But was also a better team than the record might indicate.
But by the end of the season you could see that the Eagles were improving, evident by Broomfield winning four of five games near their season’s end.
The Eagles will host Monarch on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
A-West will play at Cherry Creek Friday at 6:30 p.m.