AHS volleyball team heads to Regionals
For the Aspen High School girls volleyball team, “it’s like deja vu all over again,” to quote Yogi Berra.
Once again, the Skiers followed up a strong regular season with a second-place finish in the District Tournament to qualify for Regionals, just like they did last year.
Aspen, 17-7 during the regular season, compiled a Western Slope League record of 8-3 to finish tied for second in the conference with Hotchkiss, two games behind Olathe (10-1). And then, at the District Tournament last weekend in Grand Junction, the Skiers cruised through pool play undefeated. In fact, so dominant was Aspen that the team not only didn’t lose a game, but didn’t even let a single opponent reach double figures in points.
Knowing that they had to finish in the top two at Districts to qualify for Regionals, the Skiers squared off against a solid Battle Mountain team in the semifinals with some pressure on their shoulders. Aspen came away with a hard-fought two-game win to move on to the finals, but was somewhat overtaxed by the effort.
“All we had to do was win the semifinal,” said coach Matt Bergdahl. “We knew we had Regionals wrapped up.”
Content in that knowledge, Aspen suffered a bit of a letdown in the championship match against Hotchkiss, a team the Skiers had already defeated in pool play, losing in three games.
“The match against Battle Mountain took the wind out of our sails,” said ergdahl. “We won the first game against Hotchkiss, but we were pretty tired.”
Despite the loss, Bergdahl couldn’t be happier with the way the team is playing right now.
“The team’s been playing fantastic,” he said. “We’re getting outstanding play out of everybody. We’re doing it all pretty well. We’re playing great defense and moving the ball well.”
Aspen will open Regional play Saturday morning at Lutheran High School in Denver in a bracket that includes No. 1 seed Lutheran, Weld Central and Centauri.
Round-robin play begins at 9 a.m., and the Skiers will square off against Lutheran in the second game of the day. The top two teams in Aspen’s bracket will qualify for the state tournament next weekend.
Two teams out of four may sound like pretty reasonable odds, but the Skiers know the going will be anything but easy.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Bergdahl. “We’ve got our work cut out for us, but we’ve got the potential. We’re playing great and peaking at the right time. We’re primed right now.” Soccer In other Aspen High playoff news, the boys soccer team will take on Faith Christian High School at 7 p.m. tonight at Englewood High School in the semifinals of the 3A state playoffs.
The past two seasons, the Skiers have advanced to the final four of the state playoffs only to lose in the semifinals. This year, after posting the best record in school history, Aspen will be trying to reverse that trend.
The Skiers, the No. 3 seed in the state tournament, enter tonight’s match-up with a stellar 15-1-0 record after beating Alexander Dawson 3-0 in a quarterfinal match Wednesday in Aspen. Faith Christian, the No. 2 seed and a perennial power from Arvada, sports a 13-2-1 mark.
For Aspen, the quarterfinal win over Dawson was sweet revenge against the team that upended them one game short of last year’s finals. The Mustangs downed the Skiers 5-0 in the semifinals.
Should the Skiers win tonight, they will play in the finals Tuesday, Nov. 9, against the winner of the semifinal between No. 1 seed Colorado Academy (15-1-1) and No. 4 Kent Denver (12-2-0). That game, too, will be held at Englewood.
Colorado Academy advanced by beating Basalt 4-0 on Wednesday afternoon in Denver.
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