The last weekend was a busy one for local volleyball teams. Cedaredge leads the way among the local netters and has accomplished an impressive record to date. With a 19-4 overall record and an 8-1 3A WSL slate, the Bruins are a lock for post-season play. Delta's Panthers are on the cusp and are hoping for a few breaks to enter this year's state tournament playoffs.
Cedaredge is the area's leading RPI representative in Class 3A with a No. 9 ranking. Aspen (No. 19), Coal Ridge (No. 21) and Delta (No. 31) are the top candidates to make the field of 32 barring any last minute shake-ups.
The Panthers were higher in the rankings a week ago prior to the annual Coal Ridge Tournament. Delta coach Beth Nelson admits the teams attending the year-end tournament in New Castle are varied in classification and locale.
Delta, a former 4A WSL team, faced 4A Palisade on Oct. 26 at the Coal Ridge tournament and fell, 2-1, to the Bulldogs. The Panthers had a big game from junior Sara Geddes, who had 15 kills and 23 digs for Delta. Abby Carlson had 27 assists with Madi Gieck (12), Raelee McCurdy (11) and Haylin McCulloch (10) leading the way in service receptions.
Valley, a 3A Patriot League member, was Delta's next opponent on Oct. 26 and treated the Panthers as coldly as Palisade had earlier in the day by dealing another 2-1 loss to the young Panthers.
Sophomore Hannah Sterns stepped up against Valley to lead Delta with six kills and five blocks. Senior Lauren Davey had four blocks, Abby Carlson had 15 assists with McCurdy (14) and Geddes (10) leading the Panthers in digs.
Saturday's schedule featured a 3A WSL matchup between Delta and Cedaredge to begin the day. The Bruins escaped with a win in set one, 26-24, before winning the match with a 25-11 decision in set two.
Delta's final match of the weekend was against Pagosa Springs of the 3A Intermountain League. The Pirates were pushed to five sets and eventually won a 3-2 decision. Delta blew past the Pirates in set one 25-14 but had the tables turned on them in set two, 25-15. Pagosa Springs took a 2-1 lead on its 25-13 win in set three. The two teams were determined in set four with the Pirates being edged, 25-23, to tie the match at 2-2. A 15-12 win for the Pirates was the match-winner.
According to Delta coach Beth Nelson, the Panthers are in. The top 36 make the regional pairings and Nelson believes the Panthers are slated to make travel plans. When state 3A pairings were released, Delta was indeed on the travel list. The Panthers, seeded 30th, will be in Colorado Springs on the campus of Colorado Springs Christian (No. 7 seed, 19-4) with No. 18 Centauri (15-8).
Delta plays Colorado Springs Christian in the first round then faces Centauri in the next round. CSC and Centauri play the final match in Region 7. The best record moves, in each of the 12 regions, on to state the following week.
When asked how the Panthers played over the weekend, Nelson responded with, "The girls played great on Friday and we struggled on Saturday. They played up to their potential at moments but didn't finish. Overall, I'm happy going to regional play. I hope we battle and leave it all out there."