Despite a three-set loss to 5A Coronado to open up its season, Pueblo County, the defending South Central League champions, open up at No. 1 in the Pueblo Preps Power Five volleyball rankings.
The Pueblo Preps Power Five volleyball rankings rank the top five volleyball teams in Pueblo County, regardless of classification.
The Hornets went 17-8 last season in becoming the first team not named Pueblo West to win the South-Central League volleyball title since 2010. With its top two attackers from last season, Samantha Meehan (284K) and Kinley Gomez (263K) back this year, the Hornets must be considered the league’s top team unless somebody proves otherwise. This weekend, County will face a trio of south Colorado Springs teams, Fountain-Fort Carson, Mesa Ridge and Harrison.
The obvious team most likely to question that is Pueblo West. The Cyclones return its top six attackers from last year’s team, which was the first squad to surrender a league title in eight seasons. It opened its season last week with a four-set win over Vista Ridge, and will take a bit of a break before its next game in its home opener vs. 4A state qualifier Palmer Ridge.
The gap between County, Pueblo West and everybody else is huge, but the “top of the rest” is South.
Under new coach Lindsay Tapia-Vinci, the Colts began with a 3-1 mark at the Regis Jam Tournament last week, defeating two 5A teams (Adams City & Smoky Hill) in the process. South comes in at No. 3 in the Pueblo Preps Power Five.
East comes in at No. 4, returning several talented attackers from a team that finished 5-5 in South-Central League play last season. The Eagles with a three-set sweep over 2A Dolores Huerta, showing the dominance one would expect from a 4A team.
Rounding out the Power Five by a slim margin is Rye, a possible 2A powerhouse. Rye finished in the top-eight last season with a 21-4 mark, and have opened 3-0 this season, which includes a win over Pueblo Central. Ashlynn Romine is one of the top liberos in the state, regardless of classification, and she has this Thunderbolts defense in a rock-solid state.
Note on rankings: Power rankings rank local teams across all classifications. As such, 4A teams are generally considered stronger than 3A teams, 3A stronger than 2A, etc.