CEDAR RAPIDS — Dedication drives success.
Two Xavier volleyball seniors, Elyse Winter and Jazmine Yamilkoski, have reached personal career milestones this year. Winter reached 200 blocks and Yamilkoski reached 2,000 assists. They both started playing volleyball in fifth grade for different teams and have grown and progressed as players since.
“My training over the years is what gave me the ability to reach this milestone,” Winter said. “It is because of the countless hours getting coached and implementing ways to improve my blocking that I was able to achieve 200 blocks.”
Yamilkoski credits her teammates, coaches and training.
“Austin (Filer) has been nothing but supportive of us as a team and as individuals, he really just wants to help us reach our potential,” she said. “He stays late almost every day that I ask and works with me and Elyse.
“Austin builds us into volleyball players and has personally had a huge impact on who I am today, as well as many other people.”
Filer has had the opportunity to see both girls grow into the players they are today.
“Elyse has become one of the most well-rounded players that Xavier has ever had,” he said. “I’ve coached her since 8th grade and she has become a player that can contribute in a multitude of ways. She is an elite blocker, defender and her serve has become a weapon.
“Jazmine has become a player that I trust to run this team. I’ve coached her since 7th grade and she has become a very high level thinker. She processes the game quickly and has the ability to make the right decisions in critical moments.”
Both girls have many characteristics that help them succeed at volleyball.
“They are both great people,” Filer said. “Both are driven to become the best versions of themselves that they can be. They are committed to their team and are leaders that people want to follow.
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“They will be successful on the court in college and off the court in life. I could not be prouder of who they are.”
Filer has been there for the girls as long as they can remember.
“I have to give a lot of credit to Coach Filer. He was one of my very first club coaches and believed in me before most others,” Winter said. “He has always expected the best of me from the very beginning, which always pushed me to want to be better not only physically but mentally. He has taught me a ton of life lessons I will carry with me for a long time.”
Both players’ moms have noticed the extra work the two put in and have been there since they started playing seven years ago.
“I have definitely seen her (Elyse’s) confidence increase, which I think helps all aspects of her game and also helps her to be a better teammate, as she has the confidence to be a leader on the team,” Jen Winter, Elyse’s mom, said.
Tammy Yamilkoski, Jazmine’s mom, also has seen Jazmine grow into the player she is today.
“Jazmine isn’t a quitter, she never gives up,” Tammy said. “She’s very motivated and competitive. She’s become the most mentally tough athlete and I know that from watching her overcome her difficulties.”
Winter and Yamilkoski lead the Saints tonight against Oskaloosa in a Class 4A regional final at Xavier. First serve is a 7 p.m.