COLORADO SPRINGS - At this rate, not even a drive all the way across Colorado Springs in the middle of rush hour could slow down Cheyenne Mountain.
The Indians, who came in at No. 3 in this week's Class 4A CHSAANow.com poll, got off to strong start, allowing them to cruise to a 3-0 (25-10, 25-10, 25-15) win over Doherty Thursday night. Cheyenne Mountain's (8-1 overall) only blemish this season came in a 3-0 loss to the seemingly unstoppable Eaton Reds.
But beyond that, David Barkley's team is proving that once again they can hang with the best that 4A and 5A has to offer.
"I think we're a good team and like I've said, three of the best teams in the state are in 4A," Barkley said. "I think we've proven that we're going to be one of those candidates and I hope that shows up with whatever determines that."
The Indians remained at No. 3 in the 4A polls despite Ponderosa traveling out of state last weekend and dropping four matches.
But Barkley only remains focused on his team and leading a group of girls that he enjoys coaching on a daily basis.
"These kids have played volleyball a long time," he said. "They're in good club programs and when they come here and all that talent comes together, they make each other better. The just love playing the game which is what they were doing tonight, they were smiling a lot."
Cheyenne Mountain jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead in the first set against the Spartans (2-7). Doherty bounced back with back-to-back points, including an ace from Melissa Ferrell, but it was enough to battle back.
The Indians took the first set 25-10 and the score of the second set ended the exact same way.
Cheyenne Mountain was getting points from a variety of methods. Casey Ahrendsen led the Indians with eight kills while Ellie Gubser and Bethany Cullity each contributed seven. Gutser added eight solo blocks with two more assisted, totaling 10 on the night.
If the Spartans were going to fall, they weren't going to do it without a fight. They came out strong in the third set, going toe to toe with the Indians at the start. With the score close, the respective student sections started amping up their energy to help their squads.
They traded cheers back and forth using everything from which classification their football team plays in to their ACT scores.
"We love having our fans out here," Indians middle blocker Elizabeth Wayne said. "We like having it loud and we really feed off that energy."
Spartans coach Allison Krug felt the same way and was grateful for the fans support her team received through the match.
"Our crowd that comes is absolutely fabulous," she said. "There's always about 10 kids that come to everything and it's awesome because they support us and they're all about Spartan pride."
Although it was a tough loss for the Spartans, Krug knows that a match against a team as talented as Cheyenne Mountain will help her girls down the stretch.
"It is important," Krug said. "When it comes to playoff time, it's important to play those bigger, better teams that have always been regarded as good programs. It helps us not only get better in the future, but just improve as a team."
Meanwhile, the Indians will move on to league play. They'll start off against Discovery Canyon, who Barkley has noticed has been in the winning column very frequently this season. They'll host the Thunder Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.