The Lions jumped last and prevailed in a five-set thriller, 25-23, 25-22, 19-25, 33-35, 15-11, in a battle of premier Mississippi Valley Conference teams.
The fourth set alone was worth the price of admission as the Saints stormed back from an 18-11 deficit, staved off five match points and prevailed 35-33 on a kill by Lexi Noonan.
"Both teams were battling so hard for every point," Linn-Mar Coach Teresa Bair remarked. "That's the kind of volleyball that you want to see."
Linn-Mar is ranked No. 7 in Class 5A with a 20-5 record, while Xavier is ranked No. 5 in Class 4A with a 23-4 mark. The Saints handed the Lions two of their five losses at the Cedar Rapids Washington tournament - once in pool play and again in the finals - but the Lions got the upper hand this time with a lineup packed with college-bound players.
"I'm proud of our group. We battled," said Xavier Coach Austin Filer. "Linn-Mar is a fantastic team and I think that's one of the toughest teams in the state.
"We've talked all year: We are not scared of losses," he said. "We embrace what comes from that. We're getting better and I cannot wait to see this team in a couple of weeks."
Linn-Mar had three future college volleyball players on the floor with 6-foot-2 junior Carly Spies (Northern Iowa), 5-foot-8 senior Ellie Anderson (Denver) and 5-foot-5 senior Emilee McGowan (North Dakota State). Read more...