DENVER | Down two sets to a confident Rampart team, the Grandview girls volleyball team was a set away from dropping into the elimination bracket Thursday at the Class 5A girls volleyball state tournament.
But the fifth-seeded Wolves — facing off against a team that they lost to in the 2020 state championship match — decided not to go quietly into the night and rallied all the way back to defeat the fourth-seeded Rams in five sets.
Coach Rob Graham’s Grandview team came off the mat for a 26-28, 21-25, 25-23, 25-20, 15-9 victory that put it at 2-0 on the opening day of the three-day tournament and set the 21-6 Wolves up for a matchup with undefeated and top-ranked Valor Christian Friday with a trip to the semifinals on the line.
The other two teams that remain unbeaten through the first day are No. 3 Rock Canyon — which won its only match of the day — as well as No. 7 Cherry Creek, which outlasted Cherokee Trail in five sets in its opener and then swept past No. 2 Mountain Vista.
The victory over Rampart was in stark contrast to Grandview’s opening match in which it cruised past 12th-seeded Denver South 25-6, 25-15, 25-16 (story, here).
The Wolves came out strong against the Rams and were poised to take the first set as they built a lead as large as five points after back-to-back kills by senior Gabi Placide. But Rampart’s service game and the play of star Izzy Starck brought the Rams back, even as junior Emerson Deferme came through frequently for Grandview.
Tied is six times in the late stages, Rampart took the opening set 28-26 when Starck recorded a kill, then hung in the air for a block on set point.
The Rams took the second set as well, but the Wolves refused to let them close it out as it came through in the clutch (sealing the third set on a kill off the top of the block by Deferme) to push it to a fourth, which they also won by leading wire to wire. Junior Peyton Belcher brought up set point with a kill off the block and a Rampart attack went wide to seal the set.
The fifth set was all Grandview from the start and the Wolves built a comfortable lead with the help of senior middle Haley Glunz, who recorded a block and two kills in a four-point run that also included an ace by senior Abbey Hemp.
Deferme had some key kills down the stretch as Grandview never let the lead slip below five and finished it on a shot by Placide that Rampart could not return.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports