116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The area's top two teams are entering Saturday's girls’ state team tournament with totally different vibes.
On the positive side, there is Cedar Rapids Xavier. The top-ranked Saints (16-2) are coming into their Class 1A semifinal against Spirit Lake-Okoboji (12-1) riding the momentum from the individual state tournament, where they had five of their top six place in the top three, led by doubles champions Abby Burger and Courtney Carstensen.
Then there is the plight of Iowa City West. The Trojans went unbeaten in duals (18-0) and were ranked No. 1 all season in 2A, but were given the No. 2 seed for the state meet. They will meet No. 3 seed Cedar Falls in their semifinal.
On top of that, the Trojans’ top singles player, sophomore Ella De Young, had to default out of the consolation round of the singles tournament on Thursday with back issues.
The 1A portion of the state team tournament will be held in Ankeny with the 2A teams playing in Johnston. Semifinal matches begin at 8:30 a.m. with the consolation and finals set to begin approximately one hour after the completion of the semifinals.
Xavier won the 1A team title in 2019 and is a heavy favorite to repeat.
"I think the girls being around the state atmosphere (at the singles and doubles tournament) will help out with some nerves," said Xavier Coach Matt Foxhoven. "It was a big advantage to have five girls here not only playing, but playing well."
Miyako Coffey, who dropped a tough three-setter to Waterloo Columbus' Sasha Hyacinith in the singles final, will lead the way for the Saints at No. 1. A semifinal win would put Xavier into the final against the winner between Columbus (12-0) and Fairfield (14-0).
Much of West's hopes can likely be pinned on the health of De Young. Coach Amie Villarini made the decision to have De Young default out of the singles tournament to rest for the team event.
"She was actually having some back issues leading up to (the individual tournament)," Villarini said. "She was able to play (on Wednesday) but I had concerns about her being able to play (on Thursday).
"So she made the decision she didn't want to push it so she could hopefully be healthy enough to play on Saturday."
The match with Cedar Falls has the potential to be close. The two teams met to open the season in Cedar Falls with West pulling out a 5-4 decision, handing the Tigers (17-1) their lone loss.
Villarini expressed some surprise with the No. 2 seed for the Trojans.
"We found it interesting all season we had been voted No. 1 in the coaches poll and then suddenly voted No. 2 seed by the coaches who are in the final four," she said. "We feel extra motivated to prove the coaches wrong."
West Des Moines Dowling (12-0) was awarded the top seed and will play No. 4 West Des Moines Valley (12-1) in the other 2A semifinal.