116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Maya Karl’s first statement was one of deflecting praise.
“Anika (Ivester) was going crazy out there today,” Karl said.
They all were.
Class 4A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier closed hard in each set and whipped 5A No. 14 Dubuque Hempstead, 25-17, 25-15, 25-8, in an MVC Valley Division volleyball match Tuesday night at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.
The Saints (25-3, 6-1 MVC Valley) earned a share of the Valley crown.
You’d expect them to shrug that off, saying there are bigger things ahead. They didn’t.
“It means a lot, absolutely,” said senior Bella Musick, another cylinder that was firing all match. “But, obviously, we’re not finished yet.”
Karl said, “This is really big. A lot of people doubted us. This is one step to get in the right direction.”
Xavier is expected to host a championship quad of the MVC tournament next Tuesday. The other teams, most likely, will be Iowa City Liberty, Cedar Falls and Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
The postseason is fast approaching, and if the Saints play at the level they attained Tuesday, don’t count them out.
“We had a rough weekend (falling in the semifinals of the Waverly-Shell Rock tournament on Saturday), then we had a team meeting (Monday),” Musick said. “We talked about what we needed to do, and we did that tonight.”
What they did was dominate. The Saints fired from every angle in owning a 46-19 advantage in kills. Karl led with 12. Freshman Libby Fandel added nine. Ivester, as Karl was quick to point out, had eight kills and four blocks.
Maci Kadlec also collected eight kills, and Musick had seven. And Riley Jonker distributed 41 assists.
Hempstead (14-10, 4-3) battled to an 8-8 draw in the opening set, then the Saints took over and closed it with a 17-9 surge.
Game 2 was eerily similar, with the Mustangs up 10-9 before Xavier ran away with a 16-5 push.
Xavier won the finale from start to finish, scoring the final six points.
Emma Daughetee led the Mustangs with seven kills.
CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 3, DUBUQUE HEMPSTEAD 0 (25-17, 25-15, 25-8)
At C.R. Xavier
Serving: Hempstead 39-42 (.929), Xavier 67-71 (.944)
Aces: Hempstead 5 (Addison Wright 3), Xavier 6 (Maci Kadlec, Riley Jonker 2)
Kills: Hempstead 19 (Emma Daughetee 7), Xavier 46 (Maya Karl 12)
Assists: Hempstead 17 (Maggie Nevins 16), Xavier 43 (Jonker 41)
Blocks: Hempstead 3 (Dani Kurth 2), Xavier 7 (Anika Ivester 4)