DENVER — When does a three-set sweep in a must-win situation go for naught?
Well, when state playoff rules dictate it will take another one-set victory over the same opponent.
Insert the Eaton volleyball team, which fell one set short of advancing to the semifinals of the Class 3A state volleyball championships, losing 25-19 to Platte Valley Saturday afternoon at the Denver Coliseum.
Eaton, which had embarrassed Platte Valley in a 3-0 sweep just an hour previously, didn’t have enough left in the tank in the one-set sudden-victory match.
“We just didn’t do what we needed to do to beat them,” said Eaton sophomore standout outside hitter Kortney Lockey, trying to summarize the season-ending loss.
Eaton senior Paitton Heltenberg didn’t feel the Reds brought the same level of intensity to the one-set playoff as they did in their final pool-play match against the Broncos.
“We weren’t as excited ... Not pumped up as much,” said Heltenberg, who recorded a handful of key blocks in the Reds’ 25-19, 25-22, 25-20 sweep over the Broncos, avenging a regular-season loss to Platte Valley.
“Platte Valley is a really good team and we have to give them credit,” said Lockey, who had 14 kills in the Reds’ victory over the Broncos, including three of their final six points in the third set.
In the one-set playoff, Lockey and the Reds started slow, but a cross-court kill by Lockey pulled them within 14-10.
However, Platte Valley rode the hot hand of Mikayla Hoffman and the precision of senior Rachel Moralez to keep the Reds at bay, never allowing them to get closer than three — 21-18 — after Lockey strung together a point and two kills.
The Broncos answered with a point from Moralez, then took advantage of several unforced Eaton errors to move on to the semifinals.
“They’re (Eaton) going to come back, and they’re going to be really strong,” Heltenberg said. “Eaton will have a really good team next season.”
The Reds (20-7) were the defending Class 3A state champions.
Earlier in the day, Weld teams found the going is a little tough as University high school and Windsor failed to advance out of pool play with early-morning losses.
The Bulldogs ended their season with a 3-1 loss to St. Mary’s, finishing pool play at 1-1; while Windsor exited the Class 4A competition with a 3-2 loss to Valor Christian.