Chad Bond played his poker hand at the perfect time Thursday night.
The Eaglecrest High School boys volleyball coach had been plotting a way to get the three sets of brothers he has on his roster — Ayden and Jackson Shaw, Dennis and Dillan Ancheta and Andrew and Greg White — on the floor together during a match, but hadn’t been able to make it happen yet.
But he saw his opportunity in the third set of the Raptors’ home match with Mullen, which came on Senior Night and with his school in real need of something positive in the wake of a difficult week that saw two teachers die. So Bond turned in a lineup that had Jackson Shaw, who usually plays on the outside, in the middle and all three sets of brothers on the court together.
“It was fantastic, they loved it and it was one of those moments that you probably aren’t going to see again,” Bond said. “It was Senior Night so I started all seniors (including Ayden Shaw, Dennis Ancheta and Andrew White) in the first two sets, but then I thought we needed to figure out a way to make it happen.”
The seed was planted when a father of one of players pointed out that five of the six had organically ended up on the court together in a match against Overland and Bond took it from there in his own mind, unbeknownst to anyone else.
It hadn’t been possible earlier in the season with several of the players out of the lineup due to injury during a particularly grueling portion of the schedule, but they were all in uniform and available for the Centennial League match with Mullen.
With his team in front of the Mustangs 2-0 after wins of 25-8 and 25-18, Bond indeed made it happen as he inserted sophomore Jackson Shaw as a middle blocker, while freshmen Dillan Ancheta and Greg White also were in the lineup.
Assistant coach Courtney Karst thought Bond had made a mistake with the lineup and it took the players on the court and those in the stands awhile to figure out what happening.
“I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing and I don’t think the boys quite knew it while they were all standing out there,” Bond said. “Even Tanya (his wife, former Eaglecrest girls volleyball coach and current assistant principal) didn’t know right away, but then it was like get your camera out, you’re going to want to remember this.
“It brightened up a lot of people and it just became happy in there.”
Students who were part of a National Honor Society ceremony elsewhere in the school arrived for the third set and Bond noted how much their presence added to the atmosphere.
The brothers didn’t just take up space, either. Andrew White fed brother Greg — who he also teamed up with on the boys golf team in the fall — for a kill and the Raptors went on to a 25-11 win to wrap up the match.
“It was fun, but it was also great volleyball,” said Bond, who had a familial connection of his own in the set when his son, freshman Ashton, saw some time.
But aside from the winning, the best part of the night was giving those at the school an emotional lift in a difficult time. ILC teachers Judith Geoffroy and Maddie Schmidt both died over the weekend and the school was shut down on Wednesday (story) as the Arapahoe County Public Health Department investigated the possible presence of bacterial meningitis (story).
Smiles instead of sorrow won out at the volleyball match.
“My kids didn’t really know those teachers, but the teachers that were there did,” Bond said. “My wife mentioned that she ‘needed that brightness and positivity.’ That opportunity for cheerfulness did wonders for her and others, so that was neat.”
The win also helped Eaglecrest — ranked No. 8 in the most recently CHSAANow.com coaches poll — continue to build into the final week of the regular season and the Centennial League Tournament before the postseason.
— Sports Editor Courtney Oakes