West takes a big step forward

Prep volleyball: Women of Troy trip Xavier in 4 sets

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Only once all season has Iowa City West practiced with a full deck.

It was injuries early. It’s been illness lately.

“Everything has been hitting us hard,” West Coach Randy Dolson said. “One of these days, we’re going to put it all together.”

Tuesday night was a glimpse. A big stride in the right direction. Class 5A 11th-ranked West tripped 4A No. 6 Cedar Rapids Xavier in four sets (25-23, 25-23, 13-25, 25-21) in an MVC Mississippi Division volleyball match at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

“It’s been a little rough, but we pulled through tonight,” said West setter Maddie Fay, who missed practice Monday with dizziness. “We’ve been through a lot, but we’re going to start to peak soon.”

West (10-8 overall, 1-2 division) prevailed despite a 51-31 kill advantage by Xavier (18-2, 3-1).

Part of the reason was 16 service errors by the Saints, which neutralized 16 aces. The Women of Troy also collected nine blocks, and had enough at the end of each of the first two sets to win them both.

Xavier played from behind throughout the first set, then took its only lead at 23-22. But West scored the final three points, including a block and an offspeed kill by Colby Greene.

The second set followed a similar script. The Saints rallied from a seven-point deficit to tie it at 22-22 and 23-23, but a service error and an attack miscue squashed the comeback.

Xavier served seven aces in the third set and rolled, then the momentum shifted West’s way again. The Women of Troy led Game 4 throughout.

“We played young tonight,” Xavier Coach Austin Filer said. “We allowed our opponent to get out to a big lead. We didn’t respect them enough. But that’s going to come with the learning curve.

“I’m excited to see what practice is like tomorrow. We’ll see how we respond now that reality has set in a little bit.”

Emma Norris led the winners with nine kills. Fay registered 27 assists and five aces.

Xavier produced three players with double-digit kills — Charlotte Richards slammed 17, Ellie McDermott 14, Olivia Richards 10. Charlotte Richards served six aces.

IOWA CITY WEST 3, CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 1 (25-23, 25-23, 13-25, 25-21)

Serving — West 80-87 (.920), Xavier 77-93 (.828)

Aces — West 10 (Maddie Fay 5), Xavier 16 (Charlotte Richards 6)

Kills — West 31 (Emma Norris 9), Xavier 51 (Richards 17)

Assists — West 28 (Fay 27), Xavier 51 (Jessica Callahan 26)

Blocks — West 9 (Emily Halverson 4), Xavier 3 (Emily Jasper 2)

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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