Much to play for in Junction
Coal Ridge High School’s volleyball team will be doing everything it can to host a regional round of the Class 3A state playoffs. After all, that was one of the Titans’ goals at the start of the season.
The Titans will have a chance to solidify their postseason spot this weekend when Coal Ridge joins the other eight teams playing in the Class 3A Western Slope League tournament today and Saturday at Grand Junction Central High School.
The Titans (16-3 overall) came into this weekend having already wrapped up second place in the regular-season league standings. Coal Ridge’s goal at the beginning of the season, however, was much higher than that.
“One of our goals was to host a regional,” Coal Ridge coach Scott Black said. “That makes the league tournament really big for us.”
Berths in the Class 3A state bracket are determined by a ranking system on MaxPreps.com. The system takes into account several different factors — ranging from a team’s classification to its strength of schedule — and ranks teams accordingly based on those factors.
Currently, the Titans are ranked 10th in 3A through Thursday based on that formula, which was a drop of two spots following its three-set loss to Grand Junction Central. The top 12-ranked teams will host regional rounds of the 36-team state tournament.
That means that if Coal Ridge does well during the tournament, the Titans should have no problem holding onto that 10th spot. A poor performance, however, could send the Titans on the road for the regional round.
“That loss hurt bad, but we can make up for it this weekend,” Black said.
Pool-play matches will be played at 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. today in a best-of-three format. Saturday matchups will be based on Friday’s results, with matches scheduled for 2:30, 4 and 5:30 p.m.
Coal Ridge is one of possibly seven teams from the WSL that could reach the state tournament. Among the teams which have a reasonable shot of reaching the regional round of the 3A tourney are Gunnison (ranked sixth in Class 3A), Olathe (ranked 12th), Rifle (26th), Grand Valley (29th) and Roaring Fork (30th). Two other WSL teams, Cedaredge (35th) and Aspen (39th) will need a good performance this weekend to make it into the state tournament.
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The Coal Ridge High boys suffered their first 3A Western Slope League loss of the year Thursday night on the road at Gunnison, falling to the defending league champion Cowboys 65-45.