1A volleyball: Fleming wins program's seventh championship

Fleming volleyball team champions

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

DENVER — Fleming claimed its seventh state volleyball championship on Saturday night, sweeping Briggsdale to do so.

The fourth-seeded Wildcats claimed the Class 1A title with a 25-16, 25-14, 25-20 victory.

Sophomore outside hitter Whitney Chintala had the game-winning kill.

“It was so great,” said Chintala. “I couldn’t have ended it any better, it was awesome.”

The first set was very back-and-forth, initially, but Fleming led the first set the entire way, with their largest lead being nine. Fleming took the first set 25-16.

Fleming took the first four points to start off the second set, but Briggsdale came roaring back to tie it at four apiece. However, the Wildcats began to pull away, first leading by four and then soon by eight on two separate occasions. Suddenly, the lead was 12.

A timeout called by Falcons head coach Kelley Hale did little to stop the Wildcats’ momentum, as they cruised to a 25-14 win.

“When we play against great teams like that, it’s important that we do great things and get great kills like that,” said freshman middle blocker Kally Kirkwood. “We just always try our hardest to be as aggressive as we can which is the best thing.”

“Yes, always aggressive,” added Chintala. “And from the team talking to us, it helps us to be more aggressive.”

Fleming was 3-1 in previous matchups this season against Briggsdale before tonight’s championship game.

“This is the fifth time that we have played them,” said Wildcats head coach Doug Kamery. “So, you just get to know a team — of course they get to know us, as well — but we just tried to work on their weaknesses and play our strengths.”

Fleming volleyball team champions

(Ryan Casey/CHSAANow.com)

Fleming lead by seven four times in the third set, but Briggsdale refused to go out without a fight, drawing within three twice in the set. However, the Fleming offensive would prove to be too lethal as the Wildcats closed out the best of five series in the minimum amount, winning the third set 25-20.

“It’s awesome,” said Kamery. "The other coach from the Briggsdale team, Derek Herbert, started this whole realm. This is our 14th consecutive year (going) to state (and) finishing Final 4 or better so it’s just really exciting.”

“It feels so great,” agreed Chintala. “Last year being a freshman, we made it to the final four. Both (of) my sisters have been in the championship and this year, just taking it, it feels great to be a part of it.”

“It’s such an amazing feeling to step out onto the floor with such an amazing group of girls and finally get to win with all of them,” said Kirkwood. “It’s just been a great year and we’ve all come together as a team. It’s been so fun to have such a great group of girls to work with.”