Eaglecrest junior setter Alfred Maiava (1) reacts after a big point late in the Raptors’ five-set win over James Irwin in a opening round matchup in the inaugural sanctioned boys volleyball state tournament on June 25, 2021, at Rock Canyon High School. Eaglecrest advanced to the semifinals, were it fell to eventual state champion Douglas County. (Photo by Philip B. Poston/Sentinel Colorado)

HIGHLANDS RANCH | The first sanctioned season of boys volleyball in Colorado was most definitely a success for Eaglecrest, which made it to the final four.

The Raptors came up short of winning a state championship after falling to top-seeded Douglas County in the semifinals Saturday morning at Rock Canyon High School, but weren’t alone in losing to the Huskies, who went on to cap an undefeated season by topping Legend to win the inaugural state championship.

Coach Chad Bond’s Eaglecrest team got better as the shortened season went along and displayed some of its best play of the season in the opening round of the state tournament, in which the fifth-seeded Raptors prevailed in five sets over No. 4 James Irwin.

The other local state qualifiers — Regis Jesuit, Cherokee Trail and Cherry Creek — all lost in the opening round and Eaglecrest was on the ropes against James Irwin before it rallied. The Raptors took the fourth set 25-23 to force a decisive fifth set, which they also took 15-13 to earn a shot at Douglas County.

The Huskies lost only three sets in 18 matches on the season and swept past Eaglecrest for a 25-20, 25-19, 25-16 victory before turning around to sweep second-seeded Legend. The Raptors finished 13-4 with two losses coming to Douglas County, another to Legend and a fourth to third-seeded Valor Christian.

Best of all, the team was largely made up of underclassmen, though senior Aiden Bond departs after leading the team in kills.

Douglas County also knocked out Regis Jesuit, which dropped a 25-20, 25-15, 25-15 opening round match to finish the season 9-7. Coach Kristine Geiss’ Raiders had pulled off one of only two upsets by seed in the regional round, as they were the 11th seed and knocked off sixth-seeded Bear Creek.

Cherokee Trail — which also pulled off a regional upset as the No. 9 seed against No. 8 Stargate Academy — got nine kills from junior Hudson Harms and seven from freshman John Clinton, but fell to Legend 25-15, 25-81, 25-11. Coach Mike Thomsen’s team finished 8-8 overall.

Coach Mike Degitis’ Cherry Creek team — which had some players in the program from Overland — had a 10-6 campaign come to an end with a 25-21, 25-16, 25-20 loss to Valor Christian.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

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