Surprise, surprise: Windsor, Platte Valley in state volleyball tournament, despite the odds | MyWindsorNow.com

Surprise, surprise: Windsor, Platte Valley in state volleyball tournament, despite the odds

Bobby Fernandez
bfernandez@greeleytribune.com

Platte Valley's Jacey Reinert spikes the ball as Colorado Springs Christian's Katie Hildenbrand goes in for the block Saturday at Platte Valley High School. Platte Valley lost 3-0.

If the Class 3A and 4A Volleyball Championships were held at a snooty downtown Denver nightclub instead of the rugged Denver Coliseum, Platte Valley and Windsor might not be on the list.

They would have to crash the party.

In a sense, that's what the Broncos and Wizards did this past weekend by winning their respective regional tournaments to qualify for this weekend's state tournaments, which begin today and end Saturday at the Coliseum.

Platte Valley (12-13) is seeded 11th of 12 teams and opens 3A Pool II play against longtime rival, second-seeded Valley (20-5) at about 11 a.m. today.

Windsor (12-14), seeded 12th in 4A, opens against top-seeded, national powerhouse Lewis-Palmer (25-0) at about 9:30 a.m. today.

The Broncos and Wizards are the only teams with sub.-500 records among the 60 teams in the five classifications that will play for state championships this weekend.

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Veteran Windsor coach LaVerne Huston might not take it personal that some are surprised to see the Wizards in the state tournament after a regular season in which her team lost five consecutive matches before stunning Palisade and D'Evelyn in regionals this past weekend.

Even Huston and her players are a tad bit surprised they're playing in the final weekend of the season.

"I always like to stay very positive with the team and encouraging, but we did have a lot of inconsistencies this season," Huston said. "And so, yeah, I'm a little surprised to see that we are making another trip to the state tournament. But, I think that speaks about the kids' determination and hard work, being able to overcome some adversity."

Windsor was seeded 25th when the postseason started and, before that, wasn't even a sure bet to get to regionals. No one told the Wizards they weren't supposed to make a run in the postseason.

Windsor bucked the odds by going 1-1 in the Region 12 tournament, breaking a three-way tie and claiming the regional title with a pair of wins in tie-breaking sets against No. 12 Palisade and No. 13 D'Evelyn.

Wizards senior outside/opposite hitter Madi Bruen said knowing how far her team came just to get to regionals, once they got there, they weren't going to settle for anything less than a state berth.

"That's a five-hour drive (to Palisade), and that would have been an awful five-hour drive (back) if we didn't come home with that plaque," said Bruen, the team's captain. "I think we worked much too hard all summer and all season to go and be that close and not get away with what we wanted. All the girls are so driven on the team."

Windsor is back in the state tournament for the second consecutive year.

Platte Valley has been in the state tournament every year since 2012.

Yet, the Broncos' campaign in regionals was arguably even more surprising than that of the Wizards.

Platte Valley was seeded 28th when the postseason began, qualifying for regionals based largely on the merits of the tough schedule they played inside and outside the Patriot League.

Yet, the Broncos shrugged off their shabby seed with a pair of decisive wins in the 3A Region 9 tournament against No. 9 Salida and No. 17 Lutheran, dropping just one set in the two matches.

Platte Valley first-year coach Julie Hagemeister said her team wasn't daunted by its clear underdog status.

"We knew we were the lowest seed (in the region), we knew we had to take out two teams in order to keep our season going, and I think my team played really well," Hagemeister said. "We really came together and got the job done."

Coliseum bound

» Who: The top 12 high school volleyball teams in each of the five classifications

» What: Class 1A-5A Volleyball Championships

» Where: Denver Coliseum, 4600 Humboldt St., in Denver

» When: Friday and Saturday

» Weld pool play matches: Friday — 1A: Prairie vs. Flagler, 8 a.m.; 2A: Dayspring Christian vs. Union Colony, 9:30 a.m.; Dayspring Christian vs. Simla, 3:30 p.m.; 3A: University vs. Pagosa Springs, 8 a.m.; Eaton vs. Coal Ridge, 9:30 a.m.; Platte Valley vs. Valley, 11 a.m.; University vs. Bayfield, 2 p.m.; Eaton vs. Sterling, 3:30 p.m.; Valley vs. Middle Park, 5 p.m. 4A: Windsor vs. Lewis-Palmer, 9:30 a.m.; Saturday — 1A: Prairie vs. La Veta, 8 a.m.; 2A: Union Colony vs. Simla, 9:30 a.m.; 3A: Platte Valley vs. Middle Park, 11 a.m.; 4A: Windsor vs. Berthoud, 9:30 a.m.

» Semifinals: Beginning at approximately 2 p.m. Saturday

» Finals: 7 p.m. Saturday