LAKEWOOD – D’Evelyn won a league championship last season and while they believe they can do it again this season it might not come as easy.
The Jaguars lost seven seniors on a team that finished tied with Green Mountain for the league’s best record (13-12, 9-1 in 4A Jeffco).
Those seven seniors were the motor for what turned out to be 4A Jeffco’s best team.
However, while they lost a handful of really strong players several of their younger players are ready to break out.
“We lost some good players but our team wasn’t just about one or two good players. We had a really good team and we think we could have another one this year,” D’Evelyn coach Jeff Oliver said.
The Jaguars still have a pair of players that might turn out to be the best one-two-punch in Jeffco volleyball this season.
Senior Madeline Sutton is already recognized as one of the best players in the league, and if you don’t know junior Jace Kleffner you soon will.
Kleffner has been praised by coach Oliver as standing out during tryouts and practice.
“Jace has shined in the early going but we have a lot of really good young players. We will see if we can live up to the standard we set last season,” Oliver said.
But D’Evelyn isn’t the only 4A team with potential star talent. Golden sees themselves as this year’s 4A league champions. They just have to live up to their own lofty expectations.
“This is the best team we have had since I have been here,” Golden coach Barry Lago said. “We have pretty big expectations for this season.”
The Demons lost only one senior from last year’s team that finished third in league. Golden has their entire team coming back including two of Jeffco’s elite players.
One of those players is Kathleen Kasel, a junior who led all of 4A Jeffco in blocks last season.
The other is senior Brittany Lago, who is incredibly attempting to lead all of Jeffco in digs for a fourth straight season. The pair will present a wall that will be tough for the rest of 4A Jeffco to penetrate.
Also in 4A Jeffco, Wheat Ridge will be armed with a new head coach. After previously leading the junior varsity team Heather Champlin will now lead the varsity team.
But the cupboards aren’t bare. The Farmers have a team coming back that looks to build off their 10-13 record from last season.
If Wheat Ridge can take that next step this season will be determined on how well some of their talented young players such as junior Tasha Taylor perform this season.
In 5A Jeffco Pomona looks ready to take a leap from the bottom of their league standings to the top.
After starting off last season winning three of their first five games, and at times looking like a top team in Jeffco, Pomona lost their way in the second half of the season.
However, this season the programs participation numbers are greater than they have years. And not only doesn’t that add depth to the program but some of these young players could have an impact on the team this season.
“We have a ton of girls out this season which is a good problem to have,” Pomona coach Leilani Luke said. “We think we can be a good team this season but it will be tough because we play in a really tough league.”