volleyball

Jeffco welcomes Valor Christian to 4A volleyball

A-West, Pomona building towards top 5A finishes

Dan Williams
Pomona volleyball has always been a tough out and tight knit group led by head coach Leilani Luke. But seeing how the Panthers only lost one senior to graduation this could be the year that Pomona climbs to the top of the 5A Jeffco standings.
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Alameda: Simply put, the Pirates struggled last season (3-18, 1-7 in league). But this season Alameda has five returning seniors, plus they added a couple new players. Those five seniors lost a lot of games last season, but during the process they were much improved. It is yet to be seen if they can turn that experience into wins, but expect the Pirates to be better this season.

Keep an eye on: senior Jamie Rae Gallegos, who is quietly one of 4A Jeffco’s stronger players.

Arvada: The Bulldogs struggled last season and ended up going winless (0-23, 0-8 in league). And while that surely weighed on the group as a unit, as the season progressed the team never quit. This season coach Angela Shea has a team that now has some experience, and even if Arvada can win a couple games, the program must find away to take a step forward. Luckily, the Bulldogs have numerous players returning to the team who all gained varsity experience last season.

Keep your eye on: senior Sherleen Tran, who could just help lead Arvada back to relevance.

Arvada West: The Wildcats could just sneak up on some teams this season. Last season A-West (11-11, 3-5 in league) was a better team than their final record indicated. But the Wildcats also lost five of six games down the stretch, which really put a damper on their 2013 campaign. But this season A-West returns several really good players, including their best player from last season, junior Makaila Paxton. Paxton has the chance to become Jeffco all-timer over the next two seasons.

Keep an eye on: junior Kayla Sanchez, who, with Paxton, will create a dynamic duo this season.

Bear Creek: The Bears were a good team last season; sometimes they were a great team (13-12, 5-3 in league). Bear Creek finished third in 5A Jeffco last season and showed that they compete with the top teams in Jeffco. But they weren’t as consistent as they wanted to be, and they aim to improve in that area this season. However, they will have to do it with the loss of a couple key contributors. But returning is senior Jozy Carlacci-King, who is a team leader and star-type player.

Keep an eye on: junior Julianna Hughes, who could be a breakout player in Jeffco this season.

Faith Christian: Not a Jeffco team but in Jeffco’s district are the Eagles, who are a volleyball power in their own right (13-12, 5-3 in league last season). Faith Christian was a good team that was simply in a great league last season. The Eagles have to overcome Lutheran, Holy Family and Bishop Machebeuf in 3A/2A Metro if they want a league title, and they might just have the talent to do it as they return several of their top players. One of those returning studs is senior Danyle Dupray, who could carry the Eagles to the promise land.

Keep an eye on: junior Jayde Knoerr, who was very productive as an underclassman last season.

Pomona: The Panthers were streaky last season, to say the least (11-11, 2-6 in league). They started the season red hot, winning five of their first six games. They also had a late season winning streak of four games. But those two winning streaks sandwiched a midseason six-game losing streak that kept Pomona out of the mix for a league title. But the Panthers will return most of the core of their team and they could go from bottom third team in 5A Jeffco to a top three team.

Keep an eye on: junior Julia Baskin, who was one of the best underclassmen in Jeffco last season.

Valor Christian: Like it or not, the Valor Christian Eagles are back in 4A Jeffco, and almost immediately they will have an impact on the outcome of the league. Last season Valor went 18-9 and was regarded as a very good team. This year the team could be even better as most of the team returns. It is still up in the air how the Eagles will compete against the rest of 4A Jeffco, but they are expected to be in the mix this season.

Keep an eye on: senior Cassidy Wurth, who had a monster stat line last season.
The Farmers were down by their own standards last season, but they might not be down for long (9-14, 3-4 in league). Early in the season, Wheat Ridge lost five games in row. But they followed that up by winning four games straight. However, they then lost five more straight games, making them the definition of inconsistency. But this season the Farmers have 10 returning players who all gained varsity experience last year.

Keep an eye on: Senior Nina Thomas, who is expected to be a team leader this season.