Chatfield volleyball wins regionals, seals ticket to state

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By Alissa Noe

LITTLETON — Going into this weekend’s regional tournament on its own home court, Chatfield volleyball knew it had its work cut out if the Chargers wanted to make it to state.
On Saturday against Arapahoe and Rampart, Chatfield stepped up to the challenge under the leadership of senior outside hitter Hope Theander and junior middle blocker Caroline Pung.
First, the 10th-seeded Chargers beat up on No. 27 Arapahoe in three easy sets: 25-6, 25-12 and 25-19. Then came the real test.
After watching No. 15 Rampart also take down Arapahoe in three, the Chargers had to face off with one of the few teams that beat them earlier in the season.
This time, they showed up more prepared and defeated the Rams 3-0 but not without a little difficulty.
“They all played great,” head coach Stephanie Schick said. “We were all talking about how great Hope was, but her counterpart Daisy (McGraw) was also great. The setters were great, and the defense was great. That’s the strongest our collective team has played. What a great time to be doing it.”
Throughout the second matchup, the Chargers relied on the block just as much as they did the serve receive. In the end, however, it was the team’s stealthy tips that seemed to get the better of the Rams.
In doing so, the Chargers avenged the 2-0 setback they suffered to Rampart earlier in the season at their own invitational. In both sets, they narrowly lost by two and three points.
“I can’t even explain it,” Theander said of the team’s reversal from earlier in the year. “My heart’s pounding. I feel like we worked so hard because we lost to Rampart and when we found out we were playing Rampart, we were like, ‘Good. Let’s go.’”
In the first set, the Chargers got out to the early lead, but the Rams stayed right with them. When the score read 12-11 in Chatfield’s favor, the home team decided it needed a little separation.
Thanks to an impressive run over the next few minutes, Chatfield worked up a 20-14 advantage before winning the game outright, 25-16.
The second set was far more competitive.
In a game that saw nine ties and four lead changes, the Rams proved they weren’t ready to give up on their season just yet. Every time it appeared Chatfield had pulled ahead, Rampart got itself right back in it.
Following a string of long volleys, Chatfield pulled off another win in that set too, 25-21.
In the third, the Chargers proved they had had enough. After all, it was getting late.  They wanted to go home.
Throughout the majority of the set, the Chargers held control and rarely relinquished it. In the end, they won 25-16 and punched their ticket to state. With their first matchup slated to take place on Thursday at 8 a.m. against Denver East at the Denver Coliseum, Chatfield hopes to continue their reversal of history against another team that previously beat them in the regular season.
All aboard the state train.
“It felt so good,” Pung said. “We put all of our energy into it, and every part of our team contributed to that win, which felt so good.”