Three of the four area 4A teams at the state tournament Friday had great success, while one was eliminated.
Cheyenne Mountain and Air Academy each defeated Valor Christian, which sets up a showdown Saturday morning. The winner goes to the semifinals and the loser goes home.
"This team is ready for another state championship tomorrow, but there are so many great teams here in the 4A this year," Cheyenne Mountain coach David Barkley said. "We're playing a great defensive team in Air Academy tomorrow, and we aren't worried about anything but playing them."
Barkley's daughter Mara, a senior looking for her fourth state title, was happy to have the first win out of the way.
"We knew it was going to be hard because Valor is a very good team, and there were a few bumps on the way, but now that we finished it I think we're on our way."
Air Academy took care of Valor Christian in three sets, and is ready for the showdown with its 4A Pikes Peak rival.
"This is what we've been looking for since day one," Air Academy coach Shelley Small said. "There's no pressure on us and everything from here on out is icing on the cake."
No. 1 Lewis-Palmer dispatched Coronado in four sets and will battle Roosevelt on Saturday morning for a semifinal spot. The Cougars lost to Roosevelt in their second match, which eliminated them.
"It's always a huge advantage to have state experience and to know what to expect," L-P coach Susan Odenbaugh said. "We came out strong and had some mental lapses, but overall we played well."
The action begins at 8 a.m. , with the semifinals beginning in the afternoon and the finals at 7 p.m.
Pine Creek sees fortunes turn in a hurry
At one point late Friday afternoon, 10th-seeded Pine Creek had run off consecutive sets against state-power No. 3 Fossil Ridge (25-1) and was on the brink of taking a major step in Pool IV play.
Then, the bottom fell out as the Eagles dropped the fourth set, 25-20 and ultimately the match in five sets. Pine Creek (19-8) then saw its season come to an end in the final pool-play match of the night, as No. 6 Eaglecrest recorded a four-set victory.
"We got kind of complacent (against Fossil Ridge) and started taking easy shots," Eagles first-year co-coach Paul Waring said. "They took advantage and started blocking everything. Coming into this year, we had only one girl who had state experience, so now the rest of them know what it's like. We'll be back."
Rampart gets quick start with early win
No. 8 Rampart made quick work of No. 12 Castle View in the first 5A match on Friday. Making their first state-tournament appearance since 2008, the Rams got out early and dominated the Sabercats 25-21, 25-17, 25-18.
On Saturday, a much taller order for the 21-5 Rams: top-seeded Grandview (24-2).
The winner will claim Pool I and advance to Saturday's semifinals.
For those who remember, Grandview ended Rampart's last state run in the semifinals.