CEDAR RAPIDS — New season, new team, same mind-set.
The Cedar Rapids Xavier volleyball team still has the same goal as last season — be the first to win a state championship.
“It is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, to get to where we want to be,” Coach Austin Filer said.
The Saints lost five seniors from last year’s team and have five new players in their rotation. But, so far, they aren’t missing a beat. Xavier is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A and is 14-1 heading into Saturday’s tournament at Marion.
One of new additions to the team is junior Elyse Winter, a 6-foot-1 outside hitter. She attended and played for Kennedy last season.
“I transferred because Xavier gave me the opportunity to push myself academically and athletically,” Winter said.
Winter played club volleyball, sand volleyball and went to open gyms this summer to prepare for her first season as a Saint.
“Elyse is a quiet leader. She is focused, hardworking and a learner,” Filer said. “She is a dominant force at the net and has always been a strong blocker. She is growing as a passer and an out of system hitter.”
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Winning a state championship is Winter’s main goal, but she also wants to improve her individual game.
“I hope to continue to develop every aspect of my game throughout the season,” Winter said. “If everyone works hard to get better and is competitive in every game, I believe we can have a very successful season.”
Winter also believes the Saints’ team chemistry could take them a long way.
“My favorite part of the team is that we all get along so well and everyone is driven,” she said. “I also like how the coaches always push me to be the best I can be and I am constantly getting feedback from them.”
Not only does Winter enjoy her new team, but her new school as well.
“I love Xavier because everyone was so welcoming when I first came,” she said. “I love how a lot of the teachers and students support each other in sports and other activities.”