Chaparral captures volleyball crown

Wolverines down defending champion Valor in title match

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Chaparral collected one more victory than last year in the state volleyball tournament, but Valor Christian and Lutheran couldn't duplicate their finishes from the 2018 tournament.

The three-day, double-elimination tournament at the Denver Coliseum concluded Nov. 16, and Chaparral won the Class 5A championship with a 3-1 win over Valor Christian in a rematch of last season's state title match in which Valor earned the state crown with a 3-1 victory.

“It feels 100 times better than last year,” said Chaparral senior Juliana Dalton. “Being number one all season and coming into this tournament, everyone wanted to beat us. That's what made us want to win because we knew everyone wanted to beat us.”

Chaparral, which swept Valor 3-0 in a match on Nov. 15 that sent the Eagles into the consolation bracket, lost the first set 23-25 to the Eagles in the championship match but used several runs to take 26-24, 25-11 and 25-23 win in the final three sets and end the season with a 27-2 record.

“I think we didn't play our best match, honestly," Chaparral coach Amanda West said. "But I feel the chemistry we have as a team is what got us through."

The Wolverines trailed 24-20 in the second set but ran off six straight points to take the set. Chaparral had momentum on its side in the third set with by winning 17 straight points, sparked by the play of Dalton, Emma Ammerman and Tiffany Little. With the score tied at 23 in the fourth set, Chaparral captured the final two points to win the match and the state title.

"We worked hard after coming so close last year," said Ammerman, Dalton's cousin. "This means a lot to our team.”

Valor was 25-4 for the season and three of those four losses were to Chaparral.

“We played great,” said Valor coach Jayne McHugh. “It was an unbelievable season. No one gave us a chance to even be here this year after losing seven players from last year, but this group made it happen and I couldn't be more proud."

Lutheran, the defending Class 3A champs, lost to Sterling in the 3A finale between teams that both entered the finale with 28-0 records.

Lutheran, the state's top ranked 3A team all season, suffered it only loss of the campaign in the state finals with the four-set setback to the Tigers (25-22, 23-25, 22-25, 23-25).

“Sterling is very tough,” said Lutheran coach Alicia Kidston. “They are very well-rounded, well-coached and have a lot of offensive weapons. It was a good season and I'm proud of the way the girls fought all season. It's hard when you have a target on your back but they handled it well."

Senior Payton Brgoch had 16 kills against Sterling while Kennedey Johnson had 15, with Bella Vezzani coming up with 27 digs and Sabrina King having 44 assists.

Chaparral downed Grandview, 3-1, in its opening match of the championship tourney then swept Valor 3-0 to move into the semifinals unbeaten in the tournament, which is double elimination until the semis.

Valor advanced to the semifinals through the consolation bracket and prevailed in a tough 3-2 win over Rampart in morning match on Nov. 18. The Eagles rallied to win 25-27, 25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 15-11.

In the semifinals, the Eagles faced unbeaten Fort Collins and played well in a 3-0 triumph that pushed Valor into the finals. Valor notched 25-17, 25-16 and 25-20 wins in the sweep.

In the first 5A semifinal, Chaparral faced Continental League and Parker rival Legend, which easily ousted Mountain Visa 3-0 in an early morning losers' bracket match.

Chaparral, which came into the semifinal meeting with a 1-1 record against Legend in matches earlier in the season, downed the Titans 3-1. The Wolverines won 25-17, 29-27, 20-25, 29-27.

“You know what, Chaparral is good,” said Legend coach Travis Underwood. “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. It was all about errors.

"The semifinals is the furthest Legend has ever made it in volleyball. That says something about this group of girls. They bought in and went with it.”

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