The Titans may have gone 2-2 over the final regular season weekend, but it was just enough to get over the hump and secure a spot in the 3A volleyball regionals.
Coal Ridge clinched the No. 35 spot in the final seeding, but will act as the No. 36 for travel reasons. That means the Titans get the opportunity to take on No. 1 Resurrection Christian on their home court on Saturday.
It’s a tall order for the inexperienced Titans team, but it’s more than they were expecting three weeks ago when they were sitting at 4-7.
“We had a long talk about what had to change moving forward, if we were going to have any success,” Coal Ridge head coach Aimee Gerber said. “Just to end the season on a positive note was my goal ultimately with that and since that time we turned our season around.”
The Titans went on a 7-4 run and won five of their final seven contests to claw their way to .500 and into the playoffs.
The Coal Ridge Tournament on Friday and Saturday tipped the scales. The Titans collected two additional wins, but their losses were productive as well. Valley, who won the tournament overall with four victories, entered the 3A tournament as the No. 13 team. Palisade went 18-5 and slotted in at No. 11 in the 4A regional seedings.
The two losses against tougher teams elevated Coal Ridge’s Ratings Percentage Index and MaxPreps rankings, both of which account for one-third of final playoff ratings. The other third is coaches poll voting, which Gerber believed the tough opponents assisted with as well.
Coal Ridge was one of 28 3A teams to earn a vote in the final coaches poll of the season, earning two.
“When you get in there and fight with these bigger teams, the coaches are like, ‘Wait, this is legit,’” Gerber said.
Coal Ridge will travel to Loveland for Saturday’s tournament. They’ll play Resurrection Christian and No. 24 Lake County.
Outside looking in
The Titans are the only local team to advance to the volleyball postseason.
Glenwood Springs competed in the Coal Ridge Tournament, going 0-4 to drop to 10-13 overall on the season. The Demons finished 35th in MaxPreps rankings but 38th in ratings percentage index and did not receive any votes in the final coaches poll.
The Demons graduate four seniors according to MaxPreps: Kenzie Winder, Miah Suarez, Charlotte Olszewski and Taylor Adis.
Rifle, meanwhile finished 14-9 for a win percentage above .600, but have no playoffs to show for it. The Bears ranked 34th on MaxPreps and 38th in ratings percentage index, receiving no votes in the coaches poll.
Rifle won its final three games against two 4A teams — Grand Junction and Pueblo South. The problem is those two teams collectively had five wins across 46 matches.
In ratings percentage index, only No. 28 Aspen had a weaker opponent winning percentage than Rifle across the top 50 3A teams in the state.
The Bears graduate three seniors according to MaxPreps: Sage Allen, Savannah Cook and Kimber Lang.