DENVER — The deafening noise at the Denver Coliseum and the delirium of five courts of state finals volleyball would seem to get just about any person amped.
But for some strange reason, it didn’t seem to get the Fleming girls volleyball team ready to defend its Class 1A state title.
“Oh,” Fleming senior Timmi Keisel said. “That’s not something new for us. A lot of times we start slow. Like I said our slow start wasn’t anything new. It didn’t’ freak us out or anything like that.”
The slow start and a loss in the first set to challenger Idalia, though, couldn’t erase a magical season for Fleming.
The Wildcats overcame the first set and put together three brilliant ones, winning their second consecutive state title on Saturday at the Coliseum, 3-1. Fleming won 17-25, 25-16, 25-17 and 25-15.
“It’s a pretty special group,” Fleming coach Derek Herbert said. “What a night. What a great year.”
It certainly has been a banner year for the Wildcats. The defending 1A state champions came in having won 47 in a row — Saturday was 48 — and had some stark numbers throughout.
Fleming’s last loss, a five-setter, came in September of last year. In that time span they have dropped a total of just 15 sets.
Idalia, though, came to play. After falling to the Wildcats in the second week of the season, the Wolves weren’t intimidated by any of the numbers. Jennay Terrel, Reagan Shaffer, Bryce Shafer and Stephanie Helling owned the net in the first set and provided a diverse attack.
The teams traded leads until a Bryce Shafer kill made it 12-10 for the Wolves. From there Idalia put together mini runs of 4-0 and 6-0 to close out the set.
It seemed an upset could be in the making.
“We knew if they got a second set it would be so much harder,” Keisel said. “At that point it was do or die for us.”
Not to worry for the Wolves. Early in the second set, Fleming had turned the momentum. The Wildcats jumped out to a 16-4 second set lead and dominated the third set with a slew of hitters and the calm demeanor of senior setter Rachel Frantz.
Finally, in the fourth, Keisel took over.
The senior, who had a game-high 17 kills, couldn’t be stopped. She had five kills in the deciding fourth set, including the championship clincher.
“They’re a great team,” Idalia coach Kylie Chamberlain said. “If you’re going to lose in the championship you want to lose to a great team.”
The win caps off a 30-0 season for the Wildcats, one in which dominance in Class 1A became second nature.
“We got smart kids,” Herbert said. “They just adjust. You hurt us one game and we start to figure out how you hurt us. But every time is amazing. Every time is a blessing.”