3A state volleyball: Eaton fends off Lutheran for fifth-straight title

Eaton volleyball team champions

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

DENVER — For Gwen Forster and her girls, it's a feeling that never gets old. Eaton comes to the Denver Coliseum every November and they have a habit of leaving the building with a piece of hardware that affirms their status for each says.

They leave with championships.

That's what happened yet again on Saturday as the Reds swept Lutheran 25-16, 25-17, 25-17 to claim a fifth-straight Class 3A volleyball title.

And as much as anyone would think it's not the case, each one is special. Nothing blends together.

"It's different for every year and it's a different team," Forster said. "We have kids that played in the tournament this year and didn't see any time last year."

This year, the offensive was led Makenzie Harris, a junior who will come back in 2018 looking to do what two groups of teammates have now done. She wants to win at the state tournament four times.

"We started this year not as confident," Harris said. "But as the season went on we grew together and we came together and I really hope that's what's going to happen next year."

Eaton volleyball

(Dan Mohrmann/CHSAANow.com)

It's the third time that Harris has been a student at the school and seen the Reds come away with the top prize.

In those three years, and even in 2013 when this championship run began, Eaton has never lost a match in pool play. Even when they've gotten too the semifinals, they've only dropped a total of two sets (to Holy Family in 2013).

The junior class will have another season to match the efforts of the two teams before, but for the seniors, Saturday marked the end of a journey.

Ana Scott was among those who took the extra time to embrace her teammates and friends on the floor, soaking in every last moment of her volleyball career.

"It's indescribable," she said. "Everybody doubted us and it's just a remarkable feeling to come out here and prove ourselves to everyone every year."

And by doing that, they've encouraged a strong following of student support that floods the Coliseum each year.

For five years, the Eaton faithful has been one of the most recognizable sections in the stands. Not for their location or the color of their shirts, but for the enthusiasm that they have for their team.

"It's a lot," Harris said. "It's always when we're at home and it's amazing. It always keeps up the energy."

And the interesting part of Saturday night, was that there was some truth coming out from the Eaton students.

As the fifth championship became closer to a reality, they felt the need to remind all in attendance that "this is our house!"

"I heard that cheer," Forster said. "That's the thing, we defend it like it's ours."

Over the past five years, no one has been more dominant on the floor of the Denver Coliseum. With five titles in as many years, it's hard to argue that when it comes to volleyball, the building doesn't belong to the Eaton Reds.