CEDAR RAPIDS — A five-set match had become a race to four points.
Cedar Rapids Kennedy had the winning kick at the end.
Lexi Rogers made two big plays in the final, furious stretch as Kennedy outlasted Class 4A seventh-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier, 26-24, 27-25, 17-25, 23-25, 15-11, in a Mississippi Valley Conference cross-divisional volleyball match before a crowd of about 750 Tuesday night at Kennedy High School.
“That was very intense. There was a lot of excitement,” said Kennedy setter Bre Boote. “We knew what kind of team Xavier has, and we didn’t let up a bit.”
With four consecutive trips to the state semifinals, Kennedy (9-7) has been the queen bee of Metro volleyball lately. And when it appeared the Saints (9-4) were poised to put a dent in their armor, the Cougars made a statement:
Not so fast.
Xavier rallied from a two-set deficit and took its final lead of the deciding set, 10-9, after the Cougars made two straight attack errors. It was 11-11 when the Cougars made all the big plays at the end.
Rogers had a kill, Boote served an ace, then Rogers added a block to get the Cougars to match point. An errant spike by the Saints sealed it.
Kennedy started the season 3-6, and has won six of its last seven matches.
“It’s definitely starting to come together,” Rogers said. “We were down in the dumps a little in the middle of the match, but we brought it back together.”
Cougars Coach Michelle Goodall said, “We’re growing. We’re definitely growing.”
Kennedy’s Jordan Calef led all attackers with 19 kills. Rogers added 15.
Kayla Torson paced the Saints with 18 kills, Audrey Richards collected 17.
Rogers ended the first game with a kill and a block to break a 25-all tie, then the Cougars survived two set points in Game 2. Xavier had rallied from a nine-point deficit to take leads of 24-23 and 25-24.
Jadyn Gilson swatted two late kills at the end of the second set.
Xavier rolled in Game 3, then took advantage of some late Kennedy mistakes in the fourth set.
“We had moments in which we were wonderful, but I think we forgot about the basics at times,” said Saints Coach Barb Sullivan. “We consistency we’ve had in practice, it wasn’t there tonight.”
Sarah Homan distributed 56 assists for the Saints; Boote dished out 46.
CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 3, CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 2
|Cedar Rapids Xavier (9-4)||24||25||25||25||11|
|Cedar Rapids Kennedy (9-7)||26||27||17||23||15|
Serving: Xavier 106-110 (.964); Kennedy 103-108 (.954)
Aces: Xavier 10 (Halle Heying 6), Kennedy 7 (Jordan Calef 4).
Kills: Xavier 58 (Kayla Torson 18), Kennedy 61 (Calef 19).
Assists: Xavier 57 (Sarah Homan 56), Kennedy 54 (Bre Boote 46).
Blocks: Xavier 5 (Melissa Everett 2), Kennedy 10 (Lexi Rogers 5).