Smith blog: Changing Colorado high school volleyball playoff format is the right move

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CHSAA officially announced Tuesday that a committee unanimously voted to recommend a bracket format, rather than pool play for the state volleyball playoffs starting as early as next year.

According to the article, the recommendation will be voted on by the Legislative Council at their next meeting in January.

Currently 12 teams make the postseason in each classification, and compete in pool play to qualify for the semifinals. CHSAA states that the proposed double-elimination bracket will retain 12 teams per class, but move to a three-day tournament. Teams would still be guaranteed at least two matches, but it would eliminate the possibility of "meaningless" games and lengthy tiebreakers.

These proposed changes are music to a preps editor's ears.

Last week the Pikes Peak region had five area teams in the state tournament - Palmer Ridge, Discovery Canyon, Lewis-Palmer, Cheyenne Mountain and Coronado.

Discovery Canyon and Palmer Ridge were in the unfortunate situation of having to play each other one of those  "meaningless" matches. Niwot claimed two victories in their pool on Friday to earn a spot in the semifinals, rendering their match scheduled for Saturday morning insignificant to the tournament.

Discovery Canyon had qualified for states for the first time, and didn't even get to play both guaranteed matches before their dreams of moving on were squashed.

Each team who qualifies should have the ability to control their own destiny, regardless of whether they're fighting for a state title, or in another part of the bracket. This new format will ensure that.

In the case of Coronado in the 5A bracket, at 5 p.m. Saturday - just two hours before the championship match was slated to start - we were unsure if the Cougars had made the semifinal.

A three-way tie in the pool forced Coronado to enter a tiebreaker, which in-turn pushed the 5A semifinal back, and forced the state championship matches to start over an hour and 40 minutes late.

This more organized bracket will keep things running smoothly.

"It just evens it all out," Eaglecrest coach Tanya Bond said in the CHSAA article. "Everyone is going to have the same experience on Saturday. And hopefully it will be a more meaningful experience, because the fans won't be wondering what's going on, what time the matches are going to be starting, and if they matter."

Read more about the proposed changes at CHSAAnow.com.