No question about it. Colorado Springs volleyball ruled the Class 4A tournament this year with the last four teams standings hailing from the foothills of Pikes Peak.
No. 9 Palmer Ridge, No. 10 Cheyenne Mountain, No. 5 Coronado and No. 3 Lewis-Palmer made the all-local semifinal matches.
While all are familiar foes, Palmer Ridge, Cheyenne Mountain and Lewis-Palmer represent the 4A/5A PPAC. Palmer Ridge coach Trevor Sullivan said he has been saying it for a while, “We play such a deep pool of competition in Colorado Springs and Monument.”
“People ask how I prepare for certain teams and I say it’s just like preparing for state,” Sullivan said. “All of the teams (in the PPAC) are state worthy. We play one of the more grueling schedules in southern Colorado. It’s crazy.”
The Bears earned a trip to the program’s first semifinal and championship match. Palmer Ridge did not meet a lower-seeded team until the state semifinals, and ran through No. 8 Discovery Canyon, No. 1 Pueblo County and No. 5 Coronado before meeting No. 10 Cheyenne Mountain in the semifinals.
Sullivan said he thought their win over Pueblo County was the turning point for his team this weekend.
“The second one against Pueblo County was probably the point where people started to go, ‘Oh no, who is this Palmer Ridge team?,’” Sullivan said. “I think that was when everyone kind of looked at us and were a little bit scared of what we were doing and what we were capable of.”
Coronado is the champion out of the 4A CSML league with its best season record (20-10) since 2017. The Cougars fell to future state runner up Palmer Ridge in the quarterfinals Friday, but defeated No. 12 D’Evelyn Saturday morning to qualify for the semifinals where they took eventual-champion Lewis-Palmer to five sets. The Rangers opened the season with a sweep of Coronado in September.
“We get great competition every night, there really aren’t any days off in this league,” said Lewis-Palmer coach Wade Baxter after his team won a fourth consecutive 4A title. “This year is really a testament to the players and how hard they worked and how far they’ve come since earlier in the year, but it also helped that we fought through a really hard schedule. Playing those teams it makes you better.”
Cheyenne Mountain earned a second-place finish in the PPAC behind Lewis-Palmer and battled through the contenders bracket, upsetting the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds on the way to the state semifinal. The Indians ultimately fell to Palmer Ridge in the semis. The Bears were swept by Cheyenne Mountain in late October which allowed the Indians to finish second in the league standings.
Discovery Canyon finished in a three-way tie for third in the PPAC, and after its first-round loss to Palmer Ridge defeated No. 7 Erie in straight sets in the first round of the contenders bracket. The Thunder later fell in a five-set battle with No. 12 D’Evelyn.