Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy are rivals in nearly every sport. Bitter rivals.
But not volleyball volleyball. At least not yet.
“Every year, everybody would ask me if we're going to beat Air Academy,” Cheyenne Mountain coach David Barkley said. “I would tell that we would if we played them.”
With Cheyenne Mountain's 25-17, 25-6, 25-21 victory, the rivalry may have been extended by one more sport.
“That was a good match for us; Air academy's a good team,” Barkley said. “They have some of the best passers in our league and we were fully aware of that and expected long rallies. I think we rose to the occasion on the long rallies and scored some good transition points.”
Until Tuesday evening's match, the schools hadn't played each other in volleyball since Sept. 13, 2007. No player on either side had ever played a match against the other school.
The realignment of 4A schools this season, both schools found themselves in the 4A Pikes Peak League.
Cheyenne Mountain setter Monique Domme was, well, Domme-nating with 23 assists, eight digs, five aces, four kills and a pair of blocks. She also was a great distributor as Maddie Beal had eight kills, Courtney Tibbetts six and Aimee Steinwand and Mara Barkley five each.
“She usually plays well anyway, but Monique Domme had one of her best nights,” Barkley said. “She kept our team in rhythm.”
Behind two kills each by Beal, Megan Schultz and Tibbetts, Cheyenne Mountain (10-2, 2-0) raced to a 12-3 lead in the first set. Air Academy closed the gap to five on two occasions, but could get no closer.
The Indians got off to an even faster start in the second set and never let up. Domme had four aces in serving Cheyenne Mountain to a 10-0 lead. The pressure never relented as the Indians put together a dominant 25-6 win.
“That second game, that was one of our peak games this year,” Barkley said. “Everything just seemed to go right.”
The Kadets (10-4, 1-1) proved in the third set that they could put together a long run as well. After Cheyenne Mountain opened with a more modest 14-9 lead, Air Academy reeled off eight straight points behind two aces by Ashley Pagan and two kills and a solo block by Jordan Pingel.
Cheyenne Mountain responded decisively, scoring 16 of the match's final 20 points to wrap up the straight-sets victory.
The three-time defending 4A state champion, Cheyenne Mountain's only losses this season have been to defending 5A state champion Chaparral and Doherty, which is currently ranked No. 1 in 5A. In fact, those are the only losses over the past two seasons.
“There aren't any better teams at 4A,” Air Academy coach Toni Schone said. “Maybe Lewis-Palmer this year, but Dave Barkley always puts up a tough show.
“We know now where we need to be for the state tournament. This level – it's quick, it's fast.”