Coronado volleyballers make state finals, then hit Cheyenne buzzsaw

       “An amazing weekend in Denver,” as assistant coach Stormie Wells put it, carried the Coronado High girls volleyball team all the way to the state championship match at the Denver Coliseum Nov. 12.
       The Westside high school fell there to undefeated Cheyenne Mountain, 25-21, 25-10, 25-10. The Indians won their fourth straight state title.
       District champions and second at regionals, the Cougar girls ended their season 27-4, with three of their losses to Cheyenne and two of those at state.
       Coronado had entered the eight-school state tournament seeded #5. In a pool-play format, they mixed a loss to Cheyenne in with wins over Durango, Silver Creek and Roosevelt. The five-game win over Roosevelt in the semifinals - in which the Cougars lost two of the first three games and eked out a 26-24 win in the fourth game - qualified Coronado for the finals.
       “We couldn't be more proud of this group,” Wells said, speaking for herself as well as head coach Don Lash. “I don't think anyone picked us for the finals… The general consensus outside of the Coronado camp was that Roosevelt would face Cheyenne in the championship match. It doesn't get more exciting or dramatic than that Roosevelt semi-final - what a great win for the kids.”
       According to School District 11, this was the first time Coronado had played for a state championship in volleyball since 1992. The school had not made the final state eight since 2002.
       Asked about Cheyenne, Wells said she thinks that school's team “is as good as any team in the state, regardless of division, including 5A champion, nationally ranked Chaparral. They have a group of club players that compete nationally throughout the year and are very talented.”
       Coronado has five seniors on this year's 11-member varsity squad - Shelby Austin, Latika Clanton, Demi Coca, Jessica McCallum and Emily Ransom. Coming back next year will be four juniors and two sophomores.
       According to Lash, “Our strength was playing as a team and our commitment to fundamental skills. We will have to work incredibly hard to get anywhere near this level of success next year, since we graduate some great seniors. We will miss their leadership as well as their skill level.”

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