Aspen opens at regionals |

Aspen opens at regionals

Aspen volleyball travels to Middle Park High School in Granby this weekend in hopes of becoming one of eight teams to advance to the Class 3A state tournament next weekend.

Aspen, 16-8 on the season, will face off with Middle Park, Roosevelt and Valley of Gilcrest in a round-robin Saturday at Middle Park, one of four Class 3A regional tournaments being held across the state. After each school has played one another, the top two finishers advance to next weekend’s eight-team 3A state tournament in Denver.

“The girls have an excellent chance,” said Aspen coach Emily Bakker Thursday. “We don’t want to think about it too much, we just want to earn our spot at state. And it’s just a matter of how alert they are. They just really have to show up strong right off the bat.”

The squad of nine athletes, including Lizzie Suiter, Lindsay Patterson, Katy Cadger, Jenna Collin, Lauren Gillin, Jacqui Samborski, Dana Fleischer, Tanya Helmus and Alex Leddy, planned to travel to Granby Friday morning and practice in the gym in the afternoon.

On Saturday at Middle Park High School, Aspen opens the competition vs. the Roosevelt Roughriders (18-7) at 9 a.m., followed by the Middle Park Panthers (22-2) at 12:45 p.m. and the Valley Vikings (11-11) at 2 p.m.

Last year, Aspen advanced to the state tournament for the first time in recent history and finished in third place overall.

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“We know Middle Park and their program because of last year,” coach Bakker said. “They’re not a terribly physically intimidating team, but they’re fit, athletic girls, they have a lot of control and tough serves and their hitters have really good range. It’ll be a matter of us adjusting to a little different timing of hitters.”

The Class 3A state tournament is scheduled for Nov. 8-9 at the Denver Coliseum.

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