CEDAR RAPIDS — “Practice makes perfect” is what every aspiring athlete is told from a young age.
This applies to the Cedar Rapids Xavier girls’ soccer team, which, after several losses to start the season, has started to improve and make progress on the quality of its play.
Beginning the season with losses to West Des Moines Dowling Catholic, Linn Mar, Cedar Rapids Prairie and North Scott, the Saints followed with wins over Iowa City High, Dubuque Wahlert, Cedar Rapids Jefferson and Dubuque Senior.
Xavier has won two of its last four — and six of its last eight — and takes a 7-6 record into tonight’s regular-season finale at Iowa City West.
A team with a mix of experience and youth always is expected to take a period to gel. Xavier has five seniors starting, but on the other side of the coin, have three freshman starting, and a large amount of underclassmen playing significant minutes.
“We are working better as a team with a lot of new players this year. Our team chemistry is starting to show on the field, and we are hoping for a winning season ...,” senior forward/midfielder Elena Minor said. “Our goals still remain making state and continuing the great tradition that Xavier girls’ soccer has in Iowa.”
The senior class, many of whom have played varsity since they were freshmen or sophomores, has yet to win a state title. The program’s last title came in 2013, the year before they arrived at Xavier. The Xavier girls’ soccer program’s widely known streak of eight straight state titles from 2006 to 2013 is now a thing of the past in the minds of the Xavier community.
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The senior class is ready for a state title, and many of the underclassmen can see how much they want that at practice, and would love to help deliver that in June.
“Having watched the seniors the past two years, I can really see how much they want to win this year. We are working very hard every practice to get better as a team,” sophomore forward Quinn Hanigan said. “The senior class has helped me adjust to the team the past two years, and all of the underclassmen want nothing more than to win them a state title.”
Xavier opens Class 2A regional play on May 29 against either Clear Creek Amana or Keokuk.