DENVER | The most common word Grandview volleyball players use to describe their team is family.

The Wolves’ family has to figure out how exactly to share the shiny new trophy it won Saturday night at the Denver Coliseum.

Class 5A state volleyball championship
Grandview players and coaches pose with the Class 5A state volleyball championship trophy on Nov. 9, 2013. (Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

With a tidal wave of emotion behind it, top-seeded Grandview swept past No. 2 Arapahoe 25-22, 25-12, 25-17 in the Class 5A state championship match, bringing home the program’s fourth all-time state crown, but first since 2007.

“I don’t think I’m going to let this go,” emotional senior setter Alyssa Svalberg said, clutching the championship trophy as her sisters Tarayn and Tori had in 2007.

“The last time Grandview won state was when my sisters played, so this was the icing on the cake,” she added.  “I finally got one. …It feels so good to do it with this team, they’re just my family. I couldn’t ask for anybody else to spend this with than them.”

Coach Patty Childress also held the championship trophy in 2004, 2005 and 2007, while she and the Wolves collected the state runner-up trophy five times, including each of the past two seasons in losses to Chaparral in 2011 and Doherty last season.

With Lauren Van Orden — the leader of the Grandview team that won that 2007 state title — watching from the stands, the Wolves finished off a 27-2 season and beat Arapahoe (26-3) for the third time in as many meetings.

The Warriors — who prevented an all-Aurora championship match when they beat Eaglecrest in four sets in the semifinals — came out fired up in the first set of their first-ever final, holding a 16-13 lead early against Grandview.

But the veteran Wolves eventually pulled even at 16 — the first of five times it was tied, the last at 20-20 — before an ace by junior Haley Mclaren and senior Morgan Montgomery’s kill off Arapahoe’s block gave Grandview a two-point edge.

Tess Albyn got one point back for the Warriors, but Svalberg scored twice for Grandview, including a well-place tip to seal a 25-22 victory.

“Arapahoe was on fire, but because it was close and we were able to take it, that was really big,” Childress said. “If our kids can just be patient and not get worked up, we’re fine. Sometimes they get ahead of themselves, but they just had to get into a rhythm, settle in and battle.”

With the first set tucked in the win column, the Wolves absolutely rolled in the second set with the combination of an punishing attack and some mistakes from Arapahoe, which appeared to increasingly feel the pressure of the situation.

Grandview went up 11-5 on a Montgomery kill, then junior Sarah Mullens helped turn the set into a rout with a stunning streak of five service aces in a span of six points to push the advantage to double figures.

“(The momentum) was strange, but at the same time, we wanted it so bad,” Montgomery said. “I think that showed when we got that momentum, we were just unstoppable. That’s really what we wanted to be in the state tournament – just be a family and take out all the competition. We did that.”

The Wolves finished the set with a 25-12 victory and kept their foot on the gas pedal, surging to the first four points of the third set.

With every little bounce going its way, Grandview pushed its lead into double figures at 19-9 on consecutive Mclaren putaways. Senior Kylie Copple — who transferred from Arapahoe to Grandview prior to last season — punctuated the victory with some kills in the closing stretch.

Copple still has an affinity for the players on the other side of the net, but she has grown incredibly close to her Grandview teammates over the past two seasons and relished the celebration with them.

“It was so sweet; I love all those girls over there, but it felt so good to be reassured of my choice to come to Grandview,” Copple said in a hoarse voice as she held back tears. “This team is so many things. Amazing. Perfect. Fighters. We’re fighters to the end and we right in every situation we’re in. That’s why we’re champions.”

When the final point came, the Wolves and their large crowd of backers let out huge roar.

“It was amazing being part of the state runners-up the last two years, but it’s a whole different feeling when you have that trophy that says you’re a champion,” Grandview senior libero Sydney Ederhoff said.

“There’s no words to describe the feeling you have when you see that score hit 25. It was crazy and so much fun. I think we wanted it so bad and we have so many seniors on our team. It’s something we didn’t want to leave without.”


Championship match

NO. 1 GRANDVIEW def. No. 2 Arapahoe 25-22, 25-12, 25-17


No. 2 Arapahoe def. NO. 6 EAGLECREST 25-10, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20

NO. 1 GRANDVIEW def. No. 5 Cherry Creek 17-25, 29-27, 25-22, 25-18

Pool play

No. 5 Cherry Creek def. No. 4 Mountain Vista 25-23, 16-25, 25-19, 25-23 (Pool IV)

NO. 1 GRANDVIEW def. No. 8 Rampart 25-17, 25-14, 25-17 (Pool I)

NO. 6 EAGLECREST def. No. 3 Fossil Ridge 22-25, 29-31, 25-21, 27-25, 15-11 (Pool III)

No. 2 Arapahoe def. No. 7 Doherty 25-23, 25-20, 25-14


NO. 1 GRANDVIEW def. No. 5 Cherry Creek 3-1

No. 2 Arapahoe def. NO. 6 EAGLECREST 25-10, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel.

Courtney Oakes is sports Editor and photographer with Sentinel Colorado. A Denver East High School alum. He came to the Sentinel in 2001 and since then has received a number of professional awards from...