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Setting the season into success

Senior+Ellie+McDermott+spikes+the+ball+over+the+net+against+Cedar+Rapids+Jefferson+in+a+game+played+on+August+29+at+Xavier.+Camryn+McPherson+Photo.+
Senior Ellie McDermott spikes the ball over the net against Cedar Rapids Jefferson in a game played on August 29 at Xavier. Camryn McPherson Photo.

Senior Ellie McDermott spikes the ball over the net against Cedar Rapids Jefferson in a game played on August 29 at Xavier. Camryn McPherson Photo.

Senior Ellie McDermott spikes the ball over the net against Cedar Rapids Jefferson in a game played on August 29 at Xavier. Camryn McPherson Photo.

Caitlin Kramer, Sports Editor

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Most teams have to rebuild at the start of the season, but for the 4A No. 1 ranked Xavier Saints volleyball team, that was not quite the case. After losing starting seniors Jessica Callahan and Lexi Noonan, this year’s team quickly filled their spots. The Saints look to continue the team’s momentum from last season’s state semifinal finish.

“The spots weren’t too hard to fill,” senior Rachel Sodawasser said. “We’ve always had more than enough talent to fill any spot on the floor.”

The Saints went 3-2 in their first five games, as they did not have an easy start to their schedule. Xavier fell to current 5A No. 3 ranked Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 0-3, and to 2A No. 1 ranked Dike-New Hartford, 1-2.

“This season is going good so far,” junior Emily Jasper said. “We definitely aren’t where we want to be right now, but we are working hard to get there. Our goals for the season are to get back to the Cell Center and hopefully win state.”

The Saints already showed signs of improvement this season after finishing second at the North Scott Invitational on Saturday, September 9. Xavier lost to current 5A No. 9 ranked Bettendorf in the championship game. Xavier also won the Marion Invitational on Saturday, September 16. The Saints only lost one match on their path to becoming champions. Yet, in all this success so far, the team always has room to get better.

“We need to start off our first sets stronger,” Sodawasser said. “We tend to start the game with the mindset that we don’t have to give our best in order to win, and that tends to get us into a lot of trouble when everyone wants to beat us.”

Having been ranked No. 1 in 4A for most of the season, the Saints had to face some adversities this season as well.

“We have a major target on our back being No. 1,” Sodawasser said. “All we need to do is play our game like we always have and not let up just because we are on top.”

Even with all of the pressure to play well, the team looks to stay focused on the task at hand: getting better every day.

“We are just working really hard and staying focused every day at practice to try and get us back to the Cell and win state,” Jasper said.

The Saints played 5A No. 8 ranked Iowa City West on Tuesday, September 19. The team will be playing this Saturday, September 23 in the Dubuque Invite at Dubuque Hempstead High School.

Caitlin Kramer

Sports Editor

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Setting the season into success