AURORA | Grandview girls volleyball coach Rob Graham came into Saturday’s Class 5A Region 6 tournament slightly nervous because of what he had seen the previous night.
The Wolves’ coach had witnessed fourth-seeded Legend get upset on its home floor and it reminded him how regional victory is anything but a certainty.
Graham’s fears were allayed by the way his veteran team played, however, as sixth-seeded Grandview (19-6) swept past both No. 31 Dakota Ridge and No. 19 Pine Creek to clinch a trip to the Nov. 10-12 5A state tournament at the Denver Coliseum.
Sophomore Ashley Harkness stepped in at setter in place of regular Evelyn Klumker and the Wolves’ offense hardly missed a beat.
Grandview downed Dakota Ridge 25-18, 25-21, 25-20 behind 10 kills from junior Peyton Belcher and eight more from junior Emerson Deferme as Harkness dished out 29 assists. Deferme and junior Brenna Kelly had 14 digs apiece and senior Haley Glunz recorded five blocks in the match.
The Wolves managed to navigate around the large lineup deployed by Pine Creek in a 25-20, 25-16, 25-23 victory that included a significant rally in the clinching set. Deferme finished with 13 kills, Belcher 11 and senior Gabriella Placide 10, Kelly had 18 digs and Harkness finished with 38 assists.
Now, Grandview can focus on a return trip to the state tournament, which returns to the Denver Coliseum after two seasons at the World Arena in Colorado Springs. The Wolves made it to the state championship match in both of those years and finished as the state runner-up to Rampart and Cherry Creek, respectively.
With the Legend loss, Grandview will move up a spot in the state tournament seedings.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports