DENVER — Grandview had no interest on being a part of an improbable Class 5A state volleyball champion being crowned Saturday night at Denver Coliseum.
The No. 2 seed Wolves successfully defended their title defeating “Cinderella” and No. 12 Chatfield in straight sets 25-17, 25-22, and 25-17 in the championship match.
“Honestly it was great. I loved watching Chatfield progress through the tournament. They fought their way through,” Grandview senior Haley McLaren said. “Still, we wanted to win.”
Chatfield had a remarkable run during the two-day tournament. The Chargers lost their pool play opener to Eaglecrest on Friday morning. However, the 5A Jeffco League squad rallied from a 0-2 deficit and fought off four match points against Cherry Creek to work its way into a tiebreaker situation Saturday.
“I couldn’t be more proud of my team. They never gave up,” Chatfield coach Stephanie Schick said. “The believe my girls have shown this day has been amazing and a memory forever.”
The Chargers (18-11 record) won both one-set tiebreakers against Cherry Creek and Eaglecrest to advance to the semifinals against Rampart. Chatfield defeated Rampart 25-22, 19-25, 25-21 and 26-14 on Saturday afternoon to get a shot at the defending state champs.
“It was a little nerve-wracking because Chatfield beat all these teams we didn’t expect,” Grandview senior Katie Patrick said. “We were nervous, but I think we handled it pretty well.”
Patrick had the game-winning kill in the third set against Chatfield. The Wolves (22-7) now have five volleyball championships (2004, 2005, 2007, 2013 and 2014).
It was the 10th appearance for Grandview in a 5A state championship match since 2003. On the flipside, it was Chatfield’s first trip to a volleyball title match in the school’s history.
“It’s unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable,” Patrick said.
Chatfield was no pushover in the championship match. The Chargers actually took leads of 10-5 and 10-6 in the first and second sets. Grandview coach Patty Childress took timeouts in both situations. The Wolves got things together and quickly erased the deficits.
“Same thing that has been said all season long,” Childress said when asked what was said during each timeout. “We’ve got to talk to each other with the passing lanes. We’ve got to stabilize the lanes and be better talkers. In this environment it’s tough because it’s so hard to hear.”
McLaren, Patrick, along with junior Franchesca Reed, Madisen Busler each played big rolls in the rallies to take the first two sets.
The start of the first two sets was a bit of a microseism of Grandview’s season. The Wolves dropped matches against Cheyenne Mountain and Chaparral early in September.
“Honestly, we started off pretty rough this season. We had a lot of problems clicking,” Patrick said. “We figured everything out. The reason we won is because we are a team. We are the definition of a team. We play for each other and play for our school.”
Patrick also gave a ton of credit to her coach.
“My coach (Childress) is a genius,” Patrick said. “We never gave up. It didn’t matter if we were down.”
Schick admitted Grandview just had too much firepower in the championship match for Chatfield to pull off another upset.
“What a great champion in Grandview. Awesome for them to repeat,” Schick said. “They are a great team. They were big and better.”
McLaren, who will sign Nov. 12 to continue her volleyball at the University of Oregon, led the way with 13 kills and a handful of service aces. She was on all four of the last Grandview teams that advanced to the championship match.
“It was great,” McLaren said of her high school career. “Freshman and sophomore year we were good, but there was always a team better than us. We were at the top the last two years and finished it.”