Rampart’s volleyball season ended with a Class 5A quarterfinals loss to eventual state runner-up Valor Christian. But as soon as the match was over, Rams coach Nikki Bloemen and her team were already looking ahead.
“Obviously, we were disappointed to see our season end, but as soon as we left the court everyone was thinking about next year,” Bloemen said.
Rampart went 26-4 this fall and will return the bulk of its team next season. Bloemen loses five seniors — Grace Wilkinson, Payten Wade, Baylee Edwards, Mariah Sutton and Caitlin Kincaid.
“We will return all of our offense next season,” Bloemen said.
The Rams’ powerful offense includes junior outside hitters Anjelina Starck (430 kills) and Riley Simpson (417 kills). The middle blockers are sophomores Brielle Edwards (99 kills) and Holly Kwiatkowski (94 kills). The right-side hitter is sophomore, Hadleigh Richardson, while sophomore Ashlyn Phair (1,049 assists) is the setter.
“The girls that will be returning are excited,” Bloemen said. “They’ll play a lot of volleyball between now and next season and they’ll be ready to go.”
The Rams lost two matches in the regular season to Chatfield (0-2 in the Rampart Invitational) and Grandview (2-3 in the Cheyenne Mountain Tournament).
Chatfield lost in the finals of its regional, while Grandview was the No. 8 seed in the state tournament.
Rampart was the No. 6 seed at state and lost its second-round match to No. 3 Legend (0-3). Legend eventually lost in the semifinals.
“Our Legend match on Day 1 was the only game all week we didn’t play great,” Bloemen said. “It would have been nice to have another shot at them. Our Valor match two days later could have gone either way.”
No. 4 Valor ended up losing in the finals to No. 1 Chaparral.
Rampart played a tough non-league schedule this season that included wins over all four 4A state semifinalists: state champion Lewis-Palmer, Palmer Ridge, Cheyenne Mountain and Coronado.
“4A was really good again this season, but the 5A court at state was a pretty high level of volleyball,” Bloemen said.
Rampart will join the revamped 4A-5A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference next season. That league includes Lewis-Palmer, Cheyenne Mountain and Palmer Ridge, as well as traditional league foes Pine Creek, Doherty, Liberty and Fountain-Fort Carson.
“Some of the best volleyball in the state is played in Colorado Springs,” Bloemen said. “We look forward to more high-level competition down here for years to come.”