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By Morgan Breitbach, Xavier junior
CEDAR RAPIDS – The Xavier volleyball team is trying to continue its success from last season, but with a new coach and some new faces.
The team looks to improve on impressive accomplishments that include its first conference championship and an appearance in the Class 4A state tournament.
The Saints are off to a good start, compiling a 20-7 record while defeating top teams in the state.
“I think we are very strong this year, we have beat the second- and third-ranked teams in 5A so I think we can go far,” said junior Madsy Richards.
Richards is new to the varsity team and is hoping to make an impact. The Saints suffered a setback Sept. 7, falling to Cedar Rapids Kennedy in five sets, 25-21, 21-25, 25-16, 21-25, 10-15. Junior Kayla Torson led the Saints with 20 kills and six aces. Senior Britni Scholtes had 50 assists. Xavier led the night in assists (51), serving percentage (.941), and aces (11), but it was not enough to overcome Kennedy.
“We just need to push each other to our fullest potential, work hard in practice,” said Richards, who added 14 kills.
Xavier looked to bounce back Sept. 21 at a tournament hosted by Marion. Xavier won its first four games against Union Community, Marion, Cascade and North-Linn, all in two sets. The Saints earned a berth in their third straight championship game, winning the first game 25-14, before dropping the last two 25-20, 15-13, taking second place in the tournament.
The Saints then headed to Iowa City to take on the Little Hawks in a conference matchup. Scholtes contributed 49 assists and 14 digs, senior Halle Heying added 19 digs and 13 aces and Torson had 21 kills to help the Saints take down the Little Hawks in four sets, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23, and 25-14. Senior Kasey Vanden Bosch added 12 kills and senior Kara Zwanziger blocked five to aid in the victory.
Xavier headed to Dubuque Hempstead for a tournament on Sept. 29 and went 3-2, defeating Jefferson and Western Dubuque in 2 sets before dropping a match to Hempstead. They came back strong in the quarterfinals to defeat Pleasant Valley 21-15, 21-18, and faced Hempstead again in the semifinals. The Saints lost 21-19. 21-16, and took third in the tournament.
Torson led Xavier with 46 kills, also adding 33 digs on the day. Richards contributed 31 kills. Scholtes collected 106 assists and Heying made 62 digs and served 5 aces.