CEDAR RAPIDS — Austin Filer doesn’t see hitters, or setters, or liberos.
He sees players.
“I want them to be able to play more than one position, and give it a go,” said Filer, volleyball coach at Cedar Rapids Xavier.
So with two players absent Saturday — medical reasons for one, personal for another — it was time for Jazmine Yamilkoski and Rylee Beardsworth to give it a go.
With Yamilkoski (normally the setter) donning a libero uniform and Beardsworth shifting into the starting lineup as setter, Xavier made its deepest Mississippi Valley Conference tournament run in school history, reaching the finals at Prairie Point Middle School.
“I don’t think we’ve even made it to the semifinals before,” Eve Magill said. “We had some lineup changes, and it was different so we had to communicate a lot. We were out there fighting for every point.”
Class 5A top-ranked Cedar Falls won its third straight tournament title, defeating the 4A No. 2 Saints, 25-16, 25-20, in the championship match.
It was the 102nd consecutive regular-season victory against Iowa competition for the Tigers (39-1).
“They’re tough,” said Iowa City Liberty Coach Randy Dolson, whose team fell to the Tigers, 25-14, 25-13, in the semifinals. “They play great defense, and they can hit the ball. You just have to take your hats off to them.”
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Cedar Falls has dropped only five sets all season and swept its way through pool and bracket play Saturday.
The explosive Tigers were locked in a tight battle in the second set against Liberty before closing it out with a 12-2 run. Then, against Xavier, they trailed the first set 10-6 before answering with a 19-6 blitz.
Still it was progress for the Saints (26-6), who were beaten soundly by the Tigers in an MVC divisional match Oct. 1 at Cedar Falls.
“We knew we had to be more aggressive, more mentally tough,” Filer said. “And we were.”
Liberty (33-2) ran through pool play without a scratch, then swept Cedar Rapids Jefferson in the quarterfinals. The Lightning’s loss to Cedar Falls ended a 19-match winning streak.
“I sure would like another shot at them,” Dolson said, because if it happens, it will likely be deep in the 5A bracket at the state tournament.
Cedar Rapids Prairie (17-21) was the surprise of the day, winning two of three pool matches and knocking off Iowa City High in the quarterfinals before bowing to Xavier in the semis.
MVC volleyball touranment
At C.R. Prairie
1. Cedar Falls 3-0, 2. C.R. Prairie 2-1, 3. Waterloo West 1-2, 4. Iowa City West 0-3.
Cedar Falls def. Waterloo West, 21-6, 21-7
Cedar Falls def. C.R. Prairie, 21-9, 21-7
Cedar Falls def. Iowa City West, 21-7, 21-9
C.R. Prairie def. Waterloo West, 21-19, 21-15
C.R. Prairie def. Iowa City West, 21-10, 21-15
Waterloo West def. Iowa City West, 21-9, 21-15
1. Iowa City High 2-1, 2. Dubuque Hempstead 2-1, 3. Dubuque Wahlert 2-1, 4. C.R. Washington 0-3.
Iowa City High def. Dubuque Hempstead, 24-22, 21-11
Iowa City High def. C.R. Washington, 21-6, 21-11
Dubuque Hempstead def. Dubuque Wahlert, 22-24, 27-25, 18-16
Dubuque Hempstead def. C.R. Washington, 16-21, 21-9, 15-3
Dubuque Wahlert def. Iowa City High, 21-13, 16-21, 15-10
Dubuque Wahlert def. C.R. Washington, 21-7, 21-14
1. C.R. Xavier 3-0, 2. C.R. Jefferson 2-1, 3. C.R. Kennedy 1-2, 4. Dubuque Senior 0-3.
C.R. Xavier def. C.R. Kennedy, 19-21, 21-16, 15-8
C.R. Xavier def. C.R. Jefferson, 21-19, 21-14
C.R. Xavier def. Dubuque Senior, 21-15, 21-17
C.R. Jefferson def. C.R. Kennedy, 18-21, 21-16, 15-9
C.R. Jefferson def. Dubuque Senior, 21-11, 21-14
C.R. Kennedy def. Dubuque Senior, 21-9, 21-13
1. Iowa City Liberty 3-0, 2. Linn-Mar 2-1, 3. Western Dubuque 1-2, 4. Waterloo East 0-3.
Iowa City Liberty def. Western Dubuque, 21-8, 21-17
Iowa City Liberty def. Linn-Mar, 21-14, 21-16
Iowa City Liberty def. Waterloo East, 21-13, 21-11
Linn-Mar def. Western Dubuque, 22-20, 21-17, 15-12
Linn-Mar def. Waterloo East, 21-13, 21-14
Western Dubuque def. Waterloo East, 21-15, 21-13
Waterloo West def. C.R. Washington, 25-17, 25-15
Western Dubuque def. Dubuque Senior, 25-12, 26-24
Dubuque Wahlert def. Iowa City West, 25-13, 25-15
C.R. Kennedy def. Waterloo East, 25-5, 25-21
Waterloo West def. Western Dubuque, 25-18, 25-22
Dubuque Wahlert def. C.R. Kennedy, 25-11, 25-14
Dubuque Wahlert def. Waterloo West, 28-26, 25-11
Cedar Falls def. Dubuque Hempstead, 25-11, 25-10
Iowa City Liberty def. C.R. Jefferson, 25-14, 25-11
C.R. Prairie def. Iowa City High, 26-24, 25-23
C.R. Xavier def. Linn-Mar, 25-16, 25-16
Cedar Falls def. Iowa City Liberty, 25-14, 25-13
C.R. Xavier def. C.R. Prairie, 25-19, 25-20
Cedar Falls def. C.R. Xavier, 25-16, 25-20
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