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Thursday, December 08, 2016
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Metro Sports Report

Saints spiked by May & Wahlert

The Xavier Saints loved playing in the Class 4A state volleyball tournament this week and they plan to be back next year and do even better.

With a young team, they have every reason to think they'll be able to return to the U.S. Cellular Center in 2017.

And if they make it back to the state meet next year, they won't have to face Mackenzie May again. The Dubuque Wahlert All-American will be playing for UCLA by then.

May was as good as advertised Thursday as Wahlert topped Xavier, 25-20, 25-21, 25-15, in the semifinals of the state tournament in downtown Cedar Rapids.

The 6-foot-3 phenom blasted kill after kill against the Saints, collecting 27 for the match. And for good measure, she finished the contest with two ace serves.

"Our coaches always say she's one of the best-known players in the country. She's very good," said Xavier star Charlotte Richards. "She has a lot of skills."

Xavier Coach Austin Filer helped tutor May on the Adrenaline club volleyball team last year and knew what the Saints would be facing in the semifinals. Short of having one of his players get into a fight with May so both of them would be ejected (just kidding), there's not much anyone can do to stop her.

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Wilson, Saints aiming for No. 1 Pella

Xavier football coach Duane Schulte had a hunch Maliki Wilson would have a tremendous career with the Saints when Wilson began playing for the sophomore team two years ago.

"Let me put it this way," Schulte said this week. "The first time he touched the ball as a sophomore against Assumption he went 80 yards for a touchdown and nobody touched him."

He's been running free ever since.

Wilson has broken (or tied) at least six major school records at Xavier with his remarkable quickness, strength, speed and football IQ. Here is the list:

+ Single game rushing yards (293).
+ Season rushing yards (1,805).
+ Career rushing yards (3,078).
+ Longest TD run (97).
+ Most points in one game (26).
+ Most rushing TDs in one game (4).

Wilson is proud of his accomplishments, but all of those records will shine a little brighter if the second-ranked Saints can knock off top-ranked Pella in the Class 3A semifinals Thursday night and play for the state title next week.

"I would feel a lot better (about the records) if we win it all," he declared.

The kickoff for Thursday night's game in the UNI-Dome is scheduled for 8:21 p.m.

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Young coaches boost Xavier football

Duane Schulte jokingly refers to some of his assistant football coaches at Xavier High School as the "YCA."

That stands for "Young Coaches Association" and refers to former Xavier football players who have joined the staff over the years and contributed to one of the top programs in the state.

The "YCA" has blended with the "OCA" at Xavier - the veterans in the "Old Coaches Association" - to help the Saints reach the semifinals of the Class 3A playoffs against top-ranked Pella Thursday night in the UNI-Dome.

The Young Coaches Association features Michael Freeman, Dan Halter, Eric Gilmour, Nick Garland, Ben Slezak, Ben Helms and Reggie Schulte on Duane Schulte's staff. Freeman was a senior for the Saints in 2000, Halter in 2001, Gilmour in 2007, Garland in 2009, Slezak in 2010, Helms in 2012 and Reggie Schulte in 2012.

Reggie Schulte, the head coach's son, is actually an honorary member of the "YCA" and helps whenever he can break away from his duties as a quarterback at the University of Northern Iowa.

Brad Stovie, who played at Regis High School and was a senior there in 1983, is the group coordinator and honorary member of the "YCA," along with his many other duties with the coaching staff.

Duane Schulte considers the "YCA" as a critical part of his coaching staff. The members of the "OCA" thought calling them the "YCA" was funny and it stuck.

"All those guys played for us and they all know what Xavier football is about. That's the cool thing," said Schulte, who has been the head coach since the school opened in 1998.

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Saints win historic volleyball match

Xavier High School should just go ahead and cancel all of its classes on Thursday and declare it a sports holiday.

Lots of students will have trouble concentrating on school Thursday with the volleyball and football teams participating in the semifinals of their state tournaments that day.

Get some rest and get ready to cheer.

The Xavier volleyball players carved their names into the record books Tuesday night when they clipped the Marion Indians, 27-25, 25-18, 22-25, 26-24, at the U.S. Cellular Center for the first victory at the state tournament in school history.

The Saints (32-9) will face Dubuque Wahlert (26-6) in the semifinals of the Class 4A tournament at noon Thursday.

And in a rare day-night doubleheader, the Xavier football team will play Pella in the semifinals of the Class 3A tournament at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls Thursday at 8:21 p.m.

"They are giving us a half-day off," said Xavier kill-shot artist Charlotte Richards, who rolled up 29 kills against Marion. "I think they are dismissing us at 11."

Richards would like to see the Xavier football team play top-ranked Pella Thursday night, but not if she and her teammates upset Wahlert and reach the state finals Friday at 12:15 p.m.

"If we have a match on Friday I will not be going to the game," she announced. "I've got to get some sleep."

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Alyssa Wiebel joins MSR softball league

Former Benton Community star Alyssa Wiebel, one of the greatest sluggers in state history, is the latest player to join the new Iowa Women's Softball League that will begin this summer.

Wiebel is currently a freshman at Illinois State University.

Wiebel enjoyed a remarkable career at Benton Community and helped the Bobcats win the Class 3A state title this past summer. She belted 64 home runs, which ranks second in state history and is tied for fourth in the national record books.

(CLICK HERE TO REGISTER)

Wiebel was a four-time first team all-state selection, the Class 3A Player of the Year and the Iowa Softball Gatorade Player of the Year during her remarkable career. She had a career batting average of .538, drove in 272 runs and helped Benton Community compile a 170-39 record during her five years of varsity competition.

Wiebel, a shortstop, is the 16th collegiate player to join the Iowa Women's Softball League, which is being formed by the Metro Sports Report. The new league is geared for all college players in Iowa and all Iowans who are competing at out-of-state schools.

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