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Cherry Creek finished second at the Nov. 10-11 Class 5A State Volleyball Championships at the Denver Coliseum.
“I am so proud of our girls," Bruins coach Sally Moos said after the Nov. 11 finals against Castle View.
“Our play together as a team took us to the fifth set in the championship match. But in the fifth set, they outhit us a bit when we didn't get our blocks up so they got the fifth-set win."
The Bruins completed the regular season 19-2 before beginning the path leading to the second-place finish at state.
It began at regionals. Class 5A teams were divided into a dozen thee-team pools for round-robin play with the regional champ advancing to the state tournament. Cherry Creek defeated Highlands Ranch and Columbine in regionals to earn the spot in the 12-team state Class 5A tournament, where they were seeded 12th.
At state, the 12 Class 5A teams were divided into four pools for round-robin play with the pool champion advancing to the state semifinals.
In Nov. 10 pool play, Cherry Creek beat No. 1 seed Mountain Vista 3-2 in their first pool play game. The team statistical leaders in that match included Katie Sherman, who led the Bruins with 16 kills, and Payton Fehringer, with nine kills. Teammate Ashley Hand served three aces and Molly Chapman, defensive specialist, made 32 digs.
Cherry Creek then earned a berth in the semifinals by winning the pool championship with a 3-0 win over eighth-seeded Rocky Mountain. In the semifinals, Cherry Creek posted a 3-0 win over Chaparral, the fourth seed, to advance to the finals.
The Bruins played No. 3-seeded Castle View in the finals. The Sabercats won the first two sets but Cherry Creek came back to win the next two sets to force a deciding set. The Sabercats won the fifth set, 15-13.
The Bruins won their first pool play match Nov. 10 then spent all day at the Coliseum on Nov. 11 to complete pool play, play in the semifinals and then the finals.
“It was a long day for us as we got to the Coliseum about 8 a.m. today (Nov. 11),” Moos said. “The waiting was hard on the girls but we found things to do. We went outside quite a bit and we took quite a few walks but we always tried to stay focused on playing our best volleyball in the tournament.”
Senior Ashley Hand said Cherry Creek came into the tournament wanting to prove they were better than the 12 seed.
“We had great season, with only two regular-season losses so we felt we were better than being ranked 12th coming into the tournament,” she said. “State was a lot of fun and we played very well. It says it all that we were ranked 12 and finished second in the state.”
Hand is the team's setter. In the team's games this season she made 631 assists. She also made 197 digs, 31 blocks and 72 kills.
Looking ahead, Moos said she has nine seniors on this year's roster but she said there is a strong group of sophomores and junior plus some younger players who will be challenging for positions on the team next season.
“Our teams usually don't have one strong area,” she said. “Our team focus is playing together and to try not to let a ball hit the ground.”
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