File, The Gazette

Three weeks ago, the Air Academy volleyball team underwent a coaching change, introducing Mandy Kerce as the new Kadets coach.

Kristen Sciacca started her third season with Air Academy before parting ways from the school. Kerce could not comment on the situation surrounding the vacancy.

Kerce, who works for a government contractor, moved into the district from Huntsville, Ala., with her family last year, when her daughter, Riley Kerce, the team’s starting libero, was a freshman.

“We are continuing to work every day and shooting for excellence,” Kerce said. “We are continuing to get the girls to believe in themselves, believe in one another and we are really striving for them to play selflessly and to play for the person next to them, and that’s one of the steps in working for excellence.”

The Kadets have lost five of their last six matches.

Lewis-Palmer volleyball reaping benefits of tough 5A schedule

In the last three seasons, the Lewis-Palmer volleyball team had no trouble keeping up with the top 5A talent in the state as the Rangers captured three-straight class 4A state championships.

The two-year cycle has produced more of the same for Lewis-Palmer, but after starting the season with nearly all new varsity starters, those 5A opponents looked bigger and meaner than in years prior.

In the first two weeks of the regular season, Lewis-Palmer met Grandview and Chaparral, which are both currently ranked in the 5A top 10. They then faced No. 1 Cherokee Trail, and No. 6 Rampart, and will end their regular season with a home match against No. 5 Valor Christian.

“I think at least in the back of my mind that we were going to take some lumps,” said Lewis-Palmer coach Wade Baxter. The 8-5 Rangers have not defeated a 5A team yet this season. “It was a learning experience more than really a chance to beat Chaparral or beat Rampart or something like that. We really grew from it. It is much more valuable in my mind than to play a mediocre 4A team that you can beat easily.”

Baxter said the team is playing with more confidence and honed its fundamentals and court awareness after playing the state’s top teams.

As of Thursday, Lewis-Palmer has won four matches in a row.

Lewis-Palmer boys’ soccer coming up big wins lately

Ever since the start of the Class 5A/4A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference, the Lewis-Palmer boys’ soccer team has shown it is not one to be taken lightly.

The Rangers are off to a 4-0 record in league play, thanks to big wins over Cheyenne Mountain (6-6, 3-1), Air Academy (8-4, 3-1) and Discovery Canyon (8-3, 1-2) in the past two weeks.

They boast an eight-game winning streak, with their last loss coming against The Classical Academy on Sept. 12.

Lewis-Palmer handed both Air Academy and Cheyenne Mountain their lone league loss so far, while dealing Discovery Canyon a rare blow after the Thunder started their season with five straight victories.

Lewis-Palmer (9-3 overall) is led by Ethan Mann (six goals, two assists) and Cole Mooney (four goals, two assists).

Lazarro finishes off homecoming win for Central Michigan

Pine Creek graduate Tommy Lazarro helped Central Michigan football finish off a 42-28 homecoming win over New Mexico State on Saturday.

In his sixth appearance of the season, Lazarro, who started his college career at Dodge City Community College (Kansas), rushed four times for 18 yards.

Through seven games this season, the senior backup has rushed for 37 yards and a touchdown and completed one pass.

Mitchell football tops Sierra once again

The Mitchell football team not only won its first game of the season on Saturday but the Marauders (1-5) also topped their crosstown rival Sierra for the second straight time.

Mitchell triumphed with a 35-28 overtime victory to open the Class 3A Southern League.

Since 2005, the teams have split the series 3-3, according to MaxPreps. Sierra last beat Mitchell three years ago. The Stallions are 0-6 this season.

Next up for Mitchell is Falcon (0-1, 1-5) this Friday before the Marauders (1-5, 1-0) face Sand Creek (2-4, 0-1), which they also beat last season.


Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.