COLORADO SPRINGS | Down two sets with its season nearing an end Thursday morning, the Grandview girls volleyball team dug in and dug out of a hole.
The Wolves were a set from elimination as they faced Columbine in an early morning Class 5A state tournament semifinal at World Arena, but they weren’t ready to make the long drive home without something tangible.
Coach Rob Graham’s team will have just that, as one kind of trophy will make the return trip after the eighth-seeded Wolves rallied for a 23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-22, 15-12 win over the fourth-seeded Rebels to make the 5A state final for the first time since 2014.
Grandview’s 11th all-time state championship match appearance — but first under Graham, who took over five seasons ago for coaching legend Patty Childress — is set for 5 p.m. against No. 2 Rampart, a four-set winner over No. 3 Ralston Valley in the other semifinal.
The Wolves (13-4) continued their string of upsets — at least by seeding — which began with a regional victory over 2019 5A state champion Chaparral, followed by knocking off top-seeded Mountain Vista in four sets in Wednesday opener (story) to the state tournament, which has just eight teams this season and is in single-elimination format.
The Rebels (13-2), who were in search of their first trip to the state championship match since 1975, scored the last three points of the opening set to rally for a victory and followed that up with victory in the second set, which they led nearly from start to finish.
Grandview had been 0-2 in five-set matches during the regular season — losses to state qualifier Cherry Creek as well as Cherokee Trail — but gutted its way to victory this time.
The Wolves took a lead midway through the third set and kept a comfortable advantage for a double-digit win, then pulled away in the fourth set after an early 4-4 tie. Junior Isabel Bennett had a key string with a pair of kills and a block to help the advantage grow and freshman Emerson Deferme came up with some key late points in a three-point win.
Senior standout Addison O’Grady viciously terminated a set from junior Maya Deferme between the Columbine block for the winning point.
Back-to-back Emerson Deferme kills followed by a block from O’Grady got Grandview the early edge in the 15-point fifth set and the Wolves never trailed the rest of the way.
Bennett contributed some key points and sophomore Haley Glunz earned a big point late for Grandview, which secured the win on a miscommunication on the Columbine side on the attack.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2021 SEASON C CLASS 5A GIRLS STATE VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT
Thursday, May 13 at World Arena
Match 7: NO. 8 GRANDVIEW (13-4) vs. No. 2 Rampart (12-1), 5 p.m.
Match 5: NO. 8 GRANDVIEW def. No. 4 Columbine 23-25, 22-25, 25-15, 25-22, 15-12
Match 6: No. 2 Rampart def. No. 3 Ralston Valley 25-18, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17