Notebook: State's top three girls lacrosse programs undergo coaching changes

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

When Centaurus and Air Academy met last season, it was a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. Next season, both teams will have new coaches. (Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

For each of the past four seasons, girls lacrosse's semifinals have had one thing in common: Cherry Creek, Air Academy and Centaurus have all been there.

Well, those schools now have another common thread: all three programs — at this moment, the top three in the sport — will have new head coaches going into the 2015 season.

Centaurus' Genny Horning has stepped down as the Warriors coach, BoCoPreps.com reported on Monday. That followed Air Academy's Sean Harmon and Cherry Creek's Brianne Tierney, who resigned within a day of one another in June.

Cherry Creek has since hired longtime assistant Kathryn Ames as its new coach. Air Academy has not yet made a new hire.

It may mean that new blood will rise. Chatfield, for instance, made its first-ever semifinal appearance last season; Arapahoe's been in the quarterfinals for each of the past three seasons; Chaparral is another possibility.

Or old blood could reemerge. Kent Denver, which has won three state titles in school history, made four-consecutive semifinal appearances from 2009-12.

Now, this isn't to say that Ames, or whoever Air Academy and Centaurus eventually hire, won't have immediate success. Tierney won a state championship in her first season (2013). That could very well happen again.

And, mind you, Cherry Creek has appeared in every single state championship game in the sport's 17-year sanctioned history. So change hasn't seemed to bother the Bruins in the past.

But that these three giants of the sport are all changing coaches in the same offseason may signal there's a bit of transition ahead for girls lacrosse, at least in the short term.

DSST-Green Valley Ranch volleyball makes history

When Denver Science & Tech-Green Valley Ranch qualified for the Class 3A volleyball regionals on Monday, it marked the first time in school history a team was headed to the postseason.

The Raptors, 10-7-1 this season, earned the No. 36 seed, and are playing in Region 1 with top-seeded Eaton and No. 24 Middle Park.

It's DSST-GVR's first year as a sanctioned member of CHSAA.

"We're super pumped about it," athletic director Jamelle Austin said on Wednesday. "We've got to go to Eaton, Colorado at 4:30 on Halloween night, so we're going to have some fun with it."

The school put up a 20-foot poster congratulating the team, and is planning a pep rally on Thursday.

"Once we got the news, that was Monday morning, we made an announcement to the school and the girls were really excited," Austin said.

Short stuff

  • It's always fun when this happens: Grand Junction was on the outside of the 5A playoffs looking in until a win from rival Montrose pushed the Tigers over the 32-team threshold by adding to their Wild Card point totals.
  • Volleyball regionals are this weekend. That means the state tournament is next Saturday. In my mind, volleyball's tournament is the only thing that can come close to matching the atmosphere at state wrestling, which is probably CHSAA's premier event with its huge attendance and the fact that it draws athletes from all corners of the state to one location. State volleyball is chaotic with five courts going at once, but it's a good chaos. The event is also unique in that it's the only team sport where all classifications come together under one roof to decide championships.
  • Lewis-Palmer volleyball remained ranked No. 3 in MaxPreps' latest national poll.