DENVER — To start the volleyball season, Mountain Vista handed Cherry Creek one of its two losses on the year. To start the state tournament, the Bruins returned the favor.
Cherry Creek battled to a 21-25, 25-21, 18-25, 25-20, 15-7 win over the Golden Eagles, knock off the No. 1 seed in the Class 5A bracket. It was just one of many upsets across all five classifications on Friday at the Denver Coliseum.
Mountain Vista won the regular season opener between the two teams. That match also went to five sets.
"It was motivation to come in here and beat them," coach Sally Moos said.
The Golden Eagles claimed the first set of the match, putting the Bruins into a quick hole. It was all tied up after two, but Mountain Vista again pulled ahead, putting Creek on the verge of defeat and losing any control over its own fate.
Even at that point, there was no panic from the Centennial League's only representative at the tournament.
"I don't think so," junior outside hitter Katie Sherman said. "We were all just so into (the match) and we wanted to win it so bad."
So they battled. The fourth set remained tight until Creek pulled away at the end. They came out in the fifth and dominated from the start, jumping out to a 11-3 lead.
Mountain Vista started to rally back, but the Sherman put down one last kill to give the Bruins control of Pool I.
"We wanted to win that so bad," Sherman said. "They're probably our biggest rival. We're super excited."
Cherry Creek finished the regular season with just two losses. The first came against the Golden Eagles. The second loss was back on Sept. 16 against Rock Canyon. Cherry Creek evened the score against Rocky Mountain in the Legend Tournament on Oct. 28.
The Bruins and the Lobos will play Saturday morning and a win by Creek means advancement to the semifinals.
"Rocky Mountain is a very good team, too," Moos said. "We'll do the same thing, we'll battle back and forth."
Other upsets shake up the pools
Denver East continued 5A's upset trend in the third match of day when the No. 11-seeded Angels swept No. 2 Fossil Ridge, the defending champions.
The Angels, who are now 21-6 this season, swept the Sabercats 25-23, 25-22, 25-20.
"They stuck to the gameplan," Denver East coach Tarah Olmstead said after the match. "They ran outside their comfort zone, which is what we are supposed to do every single day. We watch film on everybody here. We know what everybody does before we even know our own rotations. And they called it, they stayed on top."
Denver East last advanced to the state tournament two years ago, but only two players remain from that team.
"What's really tough is we have a ton of people who have never been here before," Olmstead said. "We only have two people who have been here. And their eyes, when they're walking in, are all over the place. So in order to keep them present, I said, 'Look around, Snapchat, I don't care what you have to do, do it right now. But the second we get in there, you are present and you are with each other, because that's what everybody came to watch.'"
The Angels will have the chance to win their pool and advance to the semifinals by beating Chatfield on Saturday.
And with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds already the victims of upsets, No. 10 Rock Canyon was looking to make it a hat trick against No. 3 Castle View.
The Jaguars fell behind 2-0 early, though both sets they lost were close. They battled back in the third to avoid the sweep and and evened things up after the fourth set.
With momentum on their side, they went into the fifth and deciding set believing they could get the win.
The Sabercats jumped out in front and seemingly had control with a 10-6 lead. But Rock Canyon had battled back to tie up the overall match, so coming back to tie the final set seemed like child's play.
Down 14-11, the Jaguars rode a couple of key kills from Keeley Davis to pull even. Davis made the final kill to give the Jags a 16-14 win in the deciding set of the match.
"(Early on) it was just the nerves at state," Davis said. "We have a lot of new people who are here in this big coliseum. I think once we set those nerves off and we started getting excited and being happy about things, we started getting less nervous."
Rock Canyon will play Coronado Saturday morning and can advance to the 5A semifinals by winning that match.
— Daniel Mohrmann (@DanMohrmann) November 10, 2017
Other upsets on Friday included:
- In 1A, No. 9 Holly knocked off No. 4 McClave 3-2 to start the day, including 15-3 in the fifth set.
- In 2A's first match of the day, No. 9 Denver Christian upset No. 4 Hoehne, 3-1.
- Simla threw a second wrench into the 2A tourney when the No. 11 Cubs upset No. 2 Swink with a 25-16, 25-19, 25-15 sweep.
- No. 5 Otis over No. 4 McClave in 1A, 3-1.
- 2A No. 6 Lyons beat No. 3 Dayspring Christian 3-1.
- Buena Vista had probably the largest, and loudest, crowd of the day. The students at Buena Vista took a field trip to the Denver Coliseum on Friday. The school picked up the tab to get as many students as possible to support the Demons at state.
- Kit Carson's incredible run of not losing a set continued on Friday. The Wildcats swept Weldon Valley and Briggsdale, and have now won all 72 sets they've played this season.
- Lewis-Palmer, the defending champion and No. 1 seed in 4A, extended its match winning streak to 56 with sweeps of Mullen and Roosevelt. The Rangers are ranked No. 5 nationally by MaxPreps.
- Eaton is in search of a fifth-straight championship in 3A. The Reds opened their tournament with a 25-18, 25-20, 25-10 sweep of Platte Valley, and then swept Lamar in the evening.
Semifinal berths clinched
- Yuma won 2A's Pool I with wins over Dolores and Rangely.
- Niwot captured 4A's Pool IV. The Cougars beat Discovery Canyon and Palmer Ridge.
- Chaparral won Pool IV in 5A with wins over Fort Collins and Fruita Monument.
- Kit Carson, after its two sweeps, clinched Pool I in 1A.
- University won 3A's Pool IV following wins over Middle Park and Resurrection Christian.
- Lewis-Palmer will meet Niwot in the 4A semifinals after winning Pool I.
- Fleming topped Genoa-Hugo and Springfield to win Pool II in 1A.
- Eaton is back in the 3A semifinals following sweeps over Platte Valley and Lamar.
- La Veta got wins over Sangre de Cristo and Wiley to win 1A's Pool III.
- Lutheran beat Sterling and Bennett in winning Pool II in 2A.
- Valor Christian beat Cheyenne Mountain and Pueblo West as it won 4A's Pool II.
- Holy Family topped Ponderosa and D'Evelyn in winning Pool III in 4A.
- Faith Christian beat Buena Vista and Valley is it won Pool III in 3A.