School activities

Men’s volleyball: Discovery Canyon wins first state championship

AURORA — It’s hard to imagine a better start than what Discovery Canyon’s men’s volleyball team accomplished in its first season as a program.

On the way to the team’s first state championship, the Thunder went through the entire 2022 campaign without dropping a single set to dominate the second season of Colorado High School Activities Association-sanctioned men’s volleyball. On Saturday at Overland High School, the fourth-seeded Thunder capped off their incredible run with a 25-21, 25-22, 25-20 win over No. 1 Cherry Creek in the championship game.

Perfection.

“It’s been a pinnacle day for us for four or five years now,” said Discovery Canyon senior Caden Zippwald. “Most of our team has been playing together since eighth grade, so we all know each other, we all play together. But it was the first time we could all play with boys in volleyball as a sanctioned sport. We worked in training, we all love each other and I think today was just the culmination day of it all.

“It’s super special for all of us.”


The first set of Saturday’s final was tied 11 times, including a late stalemate at 19-19 before the undefeated Thunder (27-0) finished on a 6-2 run to close the game. In the second set, there were nine tied before Discovery Canyon made a mid-set run to edge Cherry Creek, 16-11, down the stretch. The third set was tied at 12-12 before Discovery Canyon split with a 5-0 run and edged Cherry Creek, 13-8, in the second half of the set to end the match.


“I was lucky that first year to be lucky enough to have great players and I keep telling people that I got a full house from the start with the players that I have. had,” Thunder head coach Wayne Weatherby said. “You couldn’t ask for a better boy band. They worked hard all season for this and this weekend they continued to surprise me even more. I knew we would be good, but I also knew we were going to face the best teams in the state.


“We knew it was going to be a battle every three days and to win in straight sets every day, I was very proud of the boys and the work they did to get to this point. We worked hard the whole season to not let the teams back into games because we knew we weren’t going to make it as it was. They did a great job of taking control of every game and not letting go.

In order to reach the final unbeaten on Saturday, the Thunder swept the No. 6 legend, 25-21, 25-21, 25-15, in the championship semifinals. After losing in the championship quarterfinals on Friday, however, Cherry Creek had to take the long way back through the consolation bracket to reach the final.


That journey began with a 26-24, 25-16, 25-18 win over No. 2 Bear Creek in the consolation quarterfinals on Saturday morning, followed by a 25-22, 26-24, 15- 25, 27-25 against Légende n°6 in the consolation semi-final at the start of the afternoon. It would have taken a third win in a single day for the Bruins to leave Overland as the 2022 state champions.


Defending champion and seventh seed Douglas County was eliminated on Day 1 with the No. 5 Cherokee Trail. No. 3 Eaglecrest and No. 8 Regis Jesuit reached Day 2 before being eliminated by Cherry Creek and Bear Creek, respectively, in the second round of consolation.


In the first state tournament last year, all but one game ended in a sweep and all but one game went by seed. This year, there have only been six sweeps in 14 total games, and all three seeds ended up in the consolation bracket at the end of Day 2.