Top-ranked Xavier volleyball team wants to get better

HS journalism: Saints open regional play tonight against Mount Pleasant

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CEDAR RAPIDS — As the regular season comes to a close, the Xavier volleyball team looks to prepare itself for the postseason.

The Saints’ last regular-season game was a 3-0 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Oct. 10.

“Going into the game, we knew that Kennedy hasn’t been as strong,” junior Olivia Richards said. “We also knew that we had to come in focused and ready to play. We did this and were able to take care of business in three sets.”

Xavier also competed in the Mississippi Valley Conference tournament on Oct. 14. The Saints went 2-1 in pool play, beating Kennedy and Cedar Rapids Prairie and losing to Dubuque Hempstead. They then went on to play Class 5A No. 1 ranked Cedar Falls in the quarterfinals of the gold bracket, losing that match.

Cedar Falls went on to win the MVC tournament.

“Throughout the day we played some very strong teams,” Richards said. “I thought that the team played really well.”

Even with all of the success the 29-9 Saints have seen this season, they know there always is room for improvement, especially right before the postseason.

“We definitely have room to improve in our defense,” senior Jade Henderson said. “Right now, our blockers are on when our passers are off, or our passers are on but our blockers are off. Once we figure out how to combine the two together, I think our team could accomplish almost anything we set our mind to.”

Richards also sees room for progress.

“We can always improve on our blocking and defense,” Richards said. “We are working very hard in practice to build up these aspects of the game.”

The Saints host a regional semifinal tonight against Mount Pleasant.

“It will definitely be a tough run considering everyone from here on out will be playing at a much higher level than we typically see, but if we play to our potential I think we could do great things the rest of this season,” Henderson said.

If the Saints win, they would play on Monday in the regional Final. The State tournament takes place on November 7-10 at the U.S. Cellular Center.

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