Prep Volleyball

Cedar Rapids Xavier fulfills state volleyball championship destiny

Saints sweep West Delaware for the 4A title

CEDAR RAPIDS — Their legacy is secure. Their resume is complete.

The seniors from top-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier fulfilled their destiny Thursday afternoon, completing a week of domination with a sweep of No. 8 West Delaware, 25-19, 25-18, 25-18, in the Class 4A state volleyball championship match.

“We all wanted to leave a legacy, leave no doubt,” Eve Magill said. “There’s no better way to end it than with a state title.”

Along with Jazmine Yamilkoski and Katy Garrison, Magill has been a cornerstone for the Saints for four years. The run ended in triumph.

“I’m just really happy,” said Yamilkoski, the all-tournament captain. “We’ve been working hard for this for a long time. This is what we’ve wanted since my freshman year.”

Xavier (26-6) did not drop a set in the postseason and earned the Metro’s first championship since Marion captured the 3A crown in 2008.

“The kids hit a wall in which they weren’t going to leave anything to chance,” said Coach Austin Filer, who has led five straight teams to state.

“This isn’t real for me yet. Every headache and every bit of adversity is worth it right now.”

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West Delaware (30-12) was somewhat of a surprise finalist. The Hawks traditionally play at a whirlwind of a pace, but the Saints were ready for it.

“We did a run-through for about 30 minutes (Wednesday) night,” Magill said. “It took us a couple of points to get used to it, but once we got it, everything came together.”

The Hawks scored the first four points of the match, but Xavier had the lead before the teams reached double digits, and didn’t have any moments of crisis.

Down 11-10 in the middle set, Xavier scored four straight points behind a pair of kills from Garrison, and was the front-runner for virtually the remainder of the set.

Magill and senior Elyse Winter — who transferred to Xavier from Cedar Rapids Kennedy after her sophomore season — joined Yamilkoski on the all-tournament team. So did West Delaware’s Ava Hauser and Carlee Smith, along with Libby Lansing of Western Dubuque and Nessa Johnson of Gilbert.

Garrison led all hitters with 13 kills, and Magill added 12. Yamilkoski delivered 34 assists and 13 digs.

Hauser paced the Hawks with eight kills. But Xavier’s size — four of the Saints are listed at 6-foot-1 or taller — was a deterrent.

“We didn’t hit all of our shots today,” said Hauser, one of only two seniors on the West Delaware roster. “We should have come out there a lot stronger. But I’m really proud of the run we had.”

The Hawks were the sixth seed, but made it all the way to the finals with a young squad.

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“We didn’t expect to be playing here today, but we did, and that’s only going to make us better in the future,” Smith said.

Expectations certainly will rise next year for the Hawks. A return to this stage certainly is a possibility.

But that’s in the future. Xavier’s time is now.

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

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