Prep Volleyball

Xavier's Akeela Jefferson takes aim at state volleyball title

HS journalism: Third place last two years not good enough for this senior

Xavier’s Akeela Jefferson dinks the ball over the net during a Mississippi Valley Conference volleyball match against Kennedy last season. The Saints are top-ranked and 18-2 heading into tonight’s match at Waterloo East. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Xavier’s Akeela Jefferson dinks the ball over the net during a Mississippi Valley Conference volleyball match against Kennedy last season. The Saints are top-ranked and 18-2 heading into tonight’s match at Waterloo East. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids Xavier senior Akeela Jefferson is in pursuit of a state volleyball title.

“My goal for the team this year is that we win a state championship. Getting third place at state two years in a row is not good enough for me,” Jefferson said.

The Saints are beginning to make that dream a reality, starting the season with an 18-2 record and winning the Warrior Invitational. One of these victories was over Class 5A fifth-ranked Linn-Mar.

Xavier is ranked No. 1 in Class 4A.

Jefferson not only works on her game in season, but during the offseason, as well. She plays club volleyball for Adrenaline from November until July each year. She also works with a personal trainer to become a better athlete all around.

“She has the ability to impact the game as a server, blocker, attacker and defender,” Xavier Coach Austin Filer said. “She has a high IQ for the game and is a player we can lean on in difficult situations.

Her favorite part about volleyball is not her individual success but the time she spends on and off the court with her team.

“Team chemistry is a really big factor in how good your team is,” she said. “I have been lucky enough to have great teammates for the past few years.”

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Jefferson, one of five seniors, has stepped into a big leadership role this season. Her improvement on and off the court has not gone unnoticed by Filer.

“I am proud of the athlete she has become, but more importantly, I am proud of her character,” Filer said.

The Saints are at Waterloo East tonight.

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