Long awaited championship

Mary Kate Moeder

When one strives and works for something for a long time, their chances of achieving this are high. 

The Xavier volleyball program is a prime example of that. 

This year’s state title for the girls’ volleyball team has been a long time coming. This championship team was affected in large part by the previous teams who came before them. 

“They  sacrificed  everything  to  get  this  program  moving   in the  right direction,” Head Volleyball Coach Austin Filer said of the past alum to the Xavier volleyball program. “Without those players paving the way, this 2020 team could never have won this championship.”

The past teams’ leadership and dedication to the program inspired the 2020 team to work even harder.  

“The team played for the teams that wanted this so badly in the past,” Filer said. “They were not going to let them down.”

Senior Jazmine Yamilkoski explains how the players who came before her impacted her journey. 

“They were tough without being mean and very accountable,” Yamilkoski said. “They set a good example for me in the future.”

One teammate in particular that Yamilkoski looked up to was Keera Ball (X19). They played together when Yamilkoski was a sophomore and when Ball was a senior. 

“I learned that Keera is the type of player you want to be, so I tried to base my choices, words and actions on what Keera would do,” Yamilkoski said. 

It is easy to recognize the tight bond and appreciation that these two have grown for each other throughout their time being teammates.

“She [Jazmine] has worked so hard to be the volleyball player she is today and has dedicated so much time,” Ball said. “She is the type of teammate that you want to be around.”

Ball, being a former libero, finds pleasure in knowing the years of hard work finally paid off. 

“It is something the Xavier volleyball program has been working towards for five years,” Ball said. “I am proud and honored to have been a part of this program and that we started the stage for success.”

The experiences that the players, both past and present, have shared has created a family.

“They shared triumph and heartbreak together and many are bonded for life,” Filer said.

This 2020 team proved to be special, not only through their accomplishments, but also through their close relationships with each other. 

“I absolutely loved being a part of this team,” junior Maya Karl said. “The dynamic between all of us made playing the game that much more fun.”

The combination of the team’s strong chemistry, dedication, perseverance and grit led them to go down in school history as Xavier’s first volleyball state championship winning team. 

“This title means everything because we have overcome so much and worked so hard, it feels earned,” Yamilkoski said. 

Karl explains how some of the motivation came from last year’s unfortunate ending. 

“With the way things ended last year, we all knew we had to make changes to get the outcome we wanted,” Karl said. 

They did just that: remained focused and executed when the time came.

“They never lost sight of the goal,” Filer said. “They never gave up on the dream, they earned this.”

The 2020 championship team fought until the end and came out victorious. With the contributions of both the past teams’ players and this year’s team, they have created a name for Xavier volleyball, a name that will be remembered forever.  So, thank you to Jess Callahan (X17), Lexi Noonan (X17), Charlotte Richards (X18), Elle Choate (X18), Ellie McDermott (X18), Jade Henderson (X18), Rachel Sodawasser (X18), Akeela Jefferson (X19), Emily Jasper (X19), Keera Ball (X19), Madison Rollinger (X19), Olivia Richards (X19), Ashley Hinrichs (X20), Aubrey Jones (X20), Julia Shoger (X20) and Lindsey Winger (X20).