Ponderosa High School volleyball turned a powerhouse season into a Cinderella finish for the Class 5A state championship last year over Highlands …
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Ponderosa High School volleyball turned a powerhouse season into
a Cinderella finish for the Class 5A state championship last year
over Highlands Ranch.
This season, with four returning starters from that team, other
returning varsity and a reload of talent, the Mustangs could very
well make another run at a follow-up championship. If they do, hard
work will be the reason.
Ponderosa finished its 2009 trek with a 27-4 overall record, the
Continental League title and the 5A bragging rights after a
three-way tiebreaker to make the finals round.
Starting his 11th year as coach of the program, Rob Graham
returns with four starting varsity players from last year returning
to the net; senior setter Hannah Hoffman, senior outside hitter
Catie Breaux, senior middle blocker Carly Boatwright and the
Mustangs’ do-it-all player, senior Kelsye Van Denend.
“We have tremendous balance at every position,” Graham said.
“Bringing back all-state players at the outside, setter and middle
blocker position will help in the experience department.”
Hoffman, who earned first-team All-Continental honors and
second-team All-State from Maxpreps.com, and All-State honorable
mention from the Denver Post, in the team in assists per game last
year. She said experience is always very helpful.
“We now know we can come back from a bad game and do what we
came to do,” Hoffman said.
Breaux also earned first-team All-League honors and the same
All-State honors as Hoffman. She led the team in kills last season
and was among the top 10 in kills in the state. She said Ponderosa
having a core of players from last year’s championship roster was
most exciting, coming into the follow-up season. Breaux said the
team’s disciple and hard work will be noticed on the court.
“We are disciplined with everything we do,” she said. “People
should notice that we come out, work hard, disciplined, and we
“[Opponents] know they will have to play their best game against
us, just like we have to play our best against everyone else.”
Boatwright, who claimed the same honors from the All-State
selections as the others, also picked up a second-team All-League
nod. She led the team in blocks and was second in kills. Boatwright
said the team’s competitive edge may be one of many things that
defines it this season.
“We still strive to be one of the hardest working teams out
there,” Boatwright said. “We just have a bit different dynamic with
some different go-to players. … We’re learning to work with the
different girls from last year.
“We can keep the rally going, and we can put some balls
Boatwright has verbally committed to play the nets at the
University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. With nothing to lose, she aspires
to go out into the 2010 season and leave her best work on the
Hoffman said the biggest change to the team is the starting
lineup in the back with Samantha Stewart and libero Kendall Howard
having both graduated, and there is an adjustment for Ponderosa to
make there; however, the All-League setter feels a strong
connection between all the girls coming to the team for the title
“We’re willing to give of ourselves no matter what,” Hoffman
said. “We’ll do whatever it takes to win.”
Van Denend agreed. She said with Graham’s drive to have the
girls work hard with every single aspect of the game, the Mustangs
have made it their top priority.
“We’re working hard in every single game,” she said. “That’s
what we’re trying to do.”
Also to have an impact, among others, should be Taylor Stanley,
a senior middle blocker who had a great summer and will add to
Ponderosa’s already tough offense. Graham said she has the ability
to be one of the best middle blocker’s in the league.
“We also have every player returning from our varsity roster
last year except one [Kelly Morton, sophomore defensive specialist
and libero],” Graham said. “Maturity, experience, confidence, team
chemistry and a great work ethic should help this team do great
things this year.”
Graham feels cross-town rivals Chaparral should be very tough
this season. Regis is also very athletic, while Ranch has great
coaching and is always expected in the mix. With ThunderRidge
losing 11 seniors, they may be the one team truly rebuilding.
“Every other team in our league will always compete,” the coach
Arapahoe did well for itself as well in 2009, including not only
an appearance in the 5A state championship tournament where there
had been a drought, but also being a part of the three-way tie
breaker that would have sent the Warriors into the finals.
After a 20-10 record last year, the Warriors should be led by
seniors MacKenzie Marlow, Ashley Golden, Alex Fons, Catherine Cole
and Mallory Holstein.
Leah Froehle and Kayla Van Hee return as juniors.
Always one of the toughest teams in the Continental League, the
Wolverines of Chaparral return from their 22-7 record in 2009,
which culminated into an appearance at the state championship
tournament as well. Before making it to the final eight at the 5A
dance, Chaparral walked away from last year with its district and
regional championship titles.
This season, coach T.R. Ellis, 13 years as coach of the
Wolverines and 28th year coaching overall, will have the talents of
six of her returning varsity starters. Among them is senior middle
blocker Anna Faul, who was first-team All-League last year and
All-State honorable mention. Faul set new school records in
blocking last season and is verbally committed to attend Ohio
State. She is listed on AVCA’s Under Armor High School All-American
watch list for the 2010-2011 season.
Senior setter-hitter Sky Johnson also returns after a
second-team All-League nod. She will be the first four-year letter
winner at Chaparral and is committed to playing at Ole Miss after
graduation. She is also listed on AVCA’s Under Armor High School
All-American watch list this year.
Senior Karlie Dalton, senior Audri Marrs Miller, junior Nicole
Dalton and sophomore Ahren Moydell also return for another shot at
success. Karlie Dalton played middle last year and will play RS
this season. Miller is a middle blocker who is much improved from
her junior year. She will play at Metro State next year.
Nicole Dalton is a setter and outside hitter who nabbed a
first-team All-League and second-team All-State selection last
year. She has been an All-American since her freshman year. Moydell
is a defensive specialist and little sister to Mikinzie Moydell,
last year’s All-State setter who is now playing with two-time
national champs Penn State.
“We’re returning several high-profile players from last season,”
Ellis said. “Big front line for attacking and blocking.”
Also expected to contribute among others is senior Aubrey
Podsschweit, junior Emily Podschweit, Aubrey’s sister, and
sophomore Maddie Thorpe. Aubrey Podschweit is a setter who moved to
Chaparral from Iowa. She placed since in the High Performance Team
2 USA Beach National Tournament. Sister Emily is an outside hitter
and was on USA Youth National Beach Doubles Team. She recently
returned from three weeks in Russia playing and traing with the
Misty May and the USA team. Thorpe is a defensive specialist who
adds to the Wolverines’ already strong list of defenders.
“With the addition of the Pods sisters and the development of
the super soph’s, we should have the ball control that we need to
control the tempo and defend the court,” Ellis said. “We will have
three amazing setters that run the court with authority and quick
Ellis also feels the Wolverines, Ponderosa and Highlands Ranch
will be the top teams in the league, while Regis is expected to
also be strong this year.
The state champions two years ago, Cherry Creek was 21-8 last
season, finishing third in the Centennial League. They were 1-2 in
state pool play and tied for fifth place.
Sally Moos returns as coach and with her comes four varsity
starters in junior Victoria Kirkemo, senior Ali Weber, junior
Corrine Din and Lauren Brady. Kirkemo was a second-team
All-Centennial selection as an outside hitter. Weber received the
same as a middle blocker. Din is back in the libero position, and
Brady is a middle blocker back after a letter winning season last
Moos, who feels Eaglecrest, Arapahoe, Grandview and Cherokee
Trail are the Centennial teams to beat this season, feels Creek
will be rebuilding this year.
Highlands Ranch put on one of the greatest shows in state
volleyball in the 5A finals last season against Ponderosa, going
five games and extra points before finishing as the state’s runner
Returning this season from last year’s team are seniors Paige
Cooper, Margaret Siple, Kayla McFadden, Kristen Miller and Brogan
Breanna Wong should also be back for her junior outing.
Titans volleyball went 10-9 in its first varsity season last
year. Legend finished third in the Pioneer League and qualified for
the Class 3A state championship playoffs’ district tournament.
Coach Katie Winsor is back to help the Titans improve on their
exciting 2009 season, in her third year at Legend and three years
prior at Smoky Hill.
Among returning varsity starters are sophomore Jamie Bredahl,
who was named Pioneer League MVP her freshman year, juniors Dani
Grever, Emily Baird and sophomore Alexis Boutin, each of whom were
All-League last year, as well league honorable mention and
sophomore Sydney Gephart and sophomore Courtney Boatwright.
Also expected to be a big help to the season is Kennedy Haup, a
freshman middle hitter, and sophomore Madi McKay as a defensive
The biggest adversary for the Titans this season will more than
likely be their bump to the Class 5A elite Continental League.
“We are only in our third year but have had successful seasons
each year,” Winsor said. “We have mostly freshmen and sophomores in
our program and only have four juniors on the varsity team. We will
have our first class of seniors next year.”
Winsor said Ponderosa and Chaparral should be on top of the
league this year, while Highlands Ranch should give quality
competition, as well as Rock Canyon.
Returning to Littleton’s net this season should be seniors
Colleen McAnallen, Christina Simms, Laura Whalen, Sydney Kramcha
and Sarah Henning.
Filling out the varsity roster, among others, should be juniors
Marilyn Drennan, Sydney Fitchett and Erin Cox, as well as sophomore
Among the upper classmen who should be having a say on the
Golden Eagles’ volleyball season are seniors Kendall Turner, Ellie
Penland, Caitlin Young, Andrea Peters, Katie Yount and Alison Cole.
Juniors Audrey Renton and Jennifer Wahleithner should be
contributing heavily as well.
The biggest change to Mountain Vista this season is a new head
coach in Lindsey Jaffe, who takes the reigns from Kevin Cary.
Chaparral had an exciting season in 2009, which culminated into
an appearance in the Class 5A state championship Sweet 16 having
advanced to regionals.
Under the coaching of Ashley Tussing in her third season with
the Jags, Sierra Andersen returns to varsity as libero. She earned
first-team All-League honors last year and had the most digs in her
league and second most in the state. Also back is Sydney Hunter as
a middle hitter-opposite. She was an All-League honorable mention
and was third on the team in kills and first in blocks last season.
Meghan Tietze also reemerges as a middle hitter. She was fourth in
kills and second in blocks on last year’s team.
Among other players to have an impact are junior outside-middle
hitter Lauren Hahn. this past summer, Hahn was a USA Volleyball
high performance camp selection. Although she hasn’t been playing
long, her performance over the last year was exponentially
improved, Tussing said.
Lauren Pogue should also contribute in her freshman season as a
setter. She has great hands and spreads her net well, the coach
said. Already a leader, helping Jags hitters look good, Pogue is
described as an offensive force, and as a setter, she becomes a
Senior opposite Tori Stutzman should also get some notice having
recently moved from the middle to the outside. She should be huge
on the block at 6 feet 2 inches tall. With a big right side block
and the middle training she’s already received, Stutzman can be a
quick tempo threat off the back side.
“Although many schools are deeming us the ‘underdog,’ I think we
will surprise many teams,” Tussing said. “We lost a lot of talent
in our 2010 seniors, but we have filled all the holes with equal
talent and amazing drive and determination.
“We are young but focused. Rock Canyon is excited to take the
step into the 5A league. We are ready to compete in the playoffs
with the ‘Big Dogs’ we compete with in league play all year.”
Tussing expects Chaparral and Ponderosa to be strong this season
with potential for taking the league title. Highlands Ranch and
Mountain Vista may not have as much strength, she said, given the
amount of senior athletes each lost last season.
ThunderRidge finished its 2009 campaign with a 12-10 record and
was seventh in the Continental League. The Grizzlies have one
returning starter this year in junior Andrea Roach who booked 53
kills and 20 stuff blocks as a sophomore.
Junior Paris Creed as an outside hitter, junior middle Taylor
Heinemann and senior setter Dani Prewitt should be contributing
heavily for T-Ridge in 2010.
“After losing 11 seniors, we will look to gain experience and
confidence for our largely junior core,” coach Kiersta Paul, in her
sixth year as coach, said.
She expects Chaparral to be dominant state wide.
Valor Christian posted a 12-3 record last season and the
championship title of the Pioneer League. The Eagles saw the end of
their season in the regional tournament. Under the coaching once
again of Lars Nielsen, Valor has four returning starters in junior
outside hitter Kaylee Pierce, senior middle hitter Lindsay Stein,
sophomore setter Samantha Baldwin and junior outside
hitter-defensive specialist Whitney Walker.
Pierce was a first-team All-Conference selection last year as
well as a Class 4A All-State honorable mention. Stein also picked
up a first-team All-Conference nod. Baldwin received second team
honors, while Walker has been All-Conference for the last two
Outside hitter Kate Gibson, as a freshman, and sophomore libero
Clara Koeltzow are expected to do well this year for the Eagles, as
well as a junior varsity standout Teagan Fast. Valor returns 10
letter winners total.
“This year’s schedule is designed to push the Eagles with having
schedule top 5A programs Pine Creek, Regis and Columbine,” Nielsen
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