Bio

DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for more than three decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Champ golfers are so good, it's scary

TUCSON -- Knock-knock.

“Who’s there?’’ asked the Xavier Prep golfers on Monday night (Oct. 29) at their hotel rooms after the first round of the Division I state tournament at the Omni Tucson National courses.

“It’s Tui. Time for bed check,’’ said co-head coach Tui Selvaratnam, sounding much like a pro football team official keeping an eye on players during the annual training camp.

The door opened, and from behind coach Tui came this . . . thing.

The figure was dressed all in black and had a mask pulled over the head.

“It was a skeleton, only worse,’’ said co-head coach Sr. Lynn Winsor.

She should know. She was the one wearing the get-up. She stages the fright night every so often around Halloween, but not every year. After all, you have to keep it fresh, not let them know when or if it might be coming.

“It is good for team bonding,’’ Winsor said. “We also wore our Halloween socks.’’

After catching their breath, the girls showed their scary side in the tournament’s final day on Tuesday (Oct. 30).

Scary that the Gators are so good.

They played in rarified air, particularly in the second round, as all five participants combined to finish in the top 10 and lifted XCP to an incredible 33-shot lead over second-place Phoenix Pinnacle.

Xavier finished the tournament on the Catalina and Sonoran courses with a total of 588, 12 over par. It was the school’s 36th golf crown and eighth in a row.

Leading the way was junior Ashley Menne, who took a 2-shot advantage over Scottsdale Chaparral’s Grace Summerhays to win her third straight individual title. Only two other golfers have done so – Grace Park, who played at Xavier and Phoenix Horizon, and the late Xavier great, Heather Farr.

Menne had to have a strong effort on the back nine as she dueled Summerhays and Peoria Liberty freshman Madison Frick most of the day. Menne shot a 3-under-par 70 on the Catalina on Monday and an even-par 71 on the Sonoran on Tuesday for a final tally of 3-under 141.

In the final round, Menne double-bogeyed her first hole and bogeyed two other holes on the front nine. But she also birdied two holes and added two more on the 11th and 12th holes to remain in contention.

“She did great. It is very rare for someone to do,’’ said Winsor, also XCP’s athletic director.

The other four Gators on the leaderboard were junior Breyana Matthews, tied for third at 145, sophomore Lauren Garcia, tied for eighth at 152, and freshman Ivy Song and sophomore Bailee Tayles, tied for 10th at 153.

“We looked at the golfers we had coming into this season and thought we would have a strong team,’’ Winsor said. “And that’s just how they played. I think it has been one of the strongest we have had at the school.

“Coach Tui and I could not be more proud of the girls. Playing in the state tournament is always pressurized, and they came in and played true Gator golf.’’

Those members of the team who did not play in the tournament were allowed to participate in the festivities surrounding the event, such as staying overnight and supporting those who were playing.

Winsor and Selvaratnam will have a deep roster again next year, particularly since none of this year’s state tournament players are seniors.

“We are right in line to keep this thing going,’’ Winsor said.

Volleyball energy good, but execution . . .

It depends on which lens you look through.

A second-seeded volleyball team sweeps its first-round opponent in the state tournament, as Xavier Prep did with No. 15 Mesa Skyline on Tuesday night (Oct. 30) at Xavier.

Take one look, and it would seem a bit disconcerting because Xavier escaped with 26-24 wins in the first two games before finishing off the Coyotes with a 25-17 victory in Game 3. If a No. 2 team barely gets by against a No. 15, what will happen as the competition gets tougher over the remainder of the tournament?

A second look would have an optimistic focus. If the team has enough resolve to come back and win those two games instead of the opposite, it shows the team still has the motivation and the drive to succeed.

So where does that put the Gators?

Probably somewhere in between.

Xavier (30-9) moves on to the quarterfinals on Thursday night (Nov. 1) at home against No. 10 seed Phoenix Pinnacle. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. The winner will advance to a 6A Conference semifinal match on Monday (Nov. 5) at Gilbert Highland against either No. 6 Phoenix Mountain Pointe or No. 3 Chandler Hamilton.

“I am glad that we were able to get out by winning those three,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. They (Skyline) played lights out, but you have to find a way to win. At this point, you’re talking about ending someone’s season each time out.’’

Bryant was not pleased with the fact that her team missed nine serves.

“We will have to do better with that,’’ she said.

And there’s always other things to work on.

“Our energy was good, but our execution was suspect,’’ Bryant said.

Game 1 went back and forth. Xavier had a 24-22 lead, but Skyline battled back to tie it with a kill and a block. The Gators responded with a kill of their own and then got help from the Coyotes, who sent a return shot beyond the back line.

Game 2 was a virtual replica of the first encounter. Back and forth. Xavier held a 24-22 lead, and Skyline again tied it at 24. Junior Bri McKnight then took over for the Gators, making it 25-24 on a kill and getting the final point on a well-placed return shot.

Xavier jumped to a quick lead in Game 3, but Skyline hung in there and managed a 13-13 tie midway through. The Gators opened things up after that and got the win in a much more comfortable fashion than the first two.

Junior Jasmine Knight led the Gators with 12 kills, and McKnight had 11.

“They carried us,’’ Bryant said.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Xavier Prep divers are right on target


Xavier divers Maddy Sewell, left, and Aly Largay. (Photo courtesy of Maddy Sewell).
Xavier Prep’s divers had another strong showing on Oct. 19 in the Puma Invite at Gilbert Perry.

Senior Aly Largay was the winner, with junior Maddy Sewell right behind at No. 2.

Freshman Samantha Klein was fifth, and senior Molly Cahill was ninth.

All four divers have qualified for the Division I championship meet on Friday (Nov. 2) and Saturday (Nov. 3) at Phoenix Country Day School.

Good luck to these Gator student-athletes at state!!

Monday, October 29, 2018

Xavier golf leads D-I state field by 12 shots

Xavier Prep’s golf team has the school’s 36th state championship and eighth in a row within reach with a 12-shot lead over Phoenix Pinnacle after Monday’s (Oct. 29) first round of the Division I state tournament at the Omni Tucson National Resort.

The Gators shot 10 over par on the rugged Catalina course, with the more traditional Sonoran course left to play in Tuesday’s (Oct. 30) final round. That will begin at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Phoenix Pinnacle was in second place at 22-over, followed by Chandler Hamilton at 27-over, Gilbert Highland at 36-over and Mesa Red Mountain at 37-over.

Xavier junior Ashley Menne, the two-time defending state champion, leads the individual field. She was the only golfer to shoot under par (-3).

Other XCP finishers were junior Breyana Matthews (1-over), sophomore Bailee Tayles (5-over), freshman Ivy Song (7-over) and sophomore Lauren Garcia (8-over).

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Volleyball faces Skyline in opening round

The wait finally ended on Saturday (Oct. 27) for Xavier Prep’s volleyball team and the other schools expected to contend for the 6A Conference state championship.

They found out who will be playing who and where in the first round of the tournament on Tuesday (Oct. 30). The brackets were released Saturday by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

The defending champion Gators (29-9) open as the No. 2 seed behind Gilbert Perry, and will meet 15th-seeded Mesa Skyline at the Activity Center. First serve is at 6:30 p.m. Skyline (23-16) qualified for the top 16 by defeating Peoria Liberty in a “play-in’’ game on Thursday night (Oct. 25).

It has been an up-and-down season for Skyline. The Coyotes won their opening game, then lost five in a row before getting back on track.

Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said she does not know much about Skyline, other than that it has defeated a few good teams such as Phoenix Pinnacle and Mesa Westwood. Pinnacle is seeded 10th in the tournament, Westwood No. 16.

“We will try to do the things we do well. That’s all we can do,’’ Bryant said. “If we play like we are capable of, there is nothing we can’t stop.’’

The danger could lie in whether the Gators stop themselves. They have had issues of late playing with confidence, especially against the tougher teams such as Perry and Chandler Hamilton. 

“The confidence has to get better,’’ Bryant said. “We have been able to handle most teams on the schedule, but against teams that are equal to us, we have taken a step backward.’’

To help in that area, the team met with a “mental health coach’’ on Saturday, taking on suggestions on how they might be able to survive if the road is full of obstacles.

One obstacle that has surfaced is the Gators’ health, not necessarily through injuries but by way of illness.

Bryant said some of the players have struggled the last week or so.

If Xavier defeats Skyline, it would play another home game in the next round, on Thursday (Nov. 1). The Gators would face the winner of Tuesday’s first-round match between Pinnacle and No. 7 host Mesa High.

Xavier Gators roster

Ashley Yeung, Sr., libero; Jennelle Yarwood, Sr., outside hitter; Abby Converse, Jr., defensive specialist/libero; Jasmine Knight, Jr., middle blocker; Tori Burton, Jr., opposite; Bri McKnight, Jr., outside hitter; Zaira Reyes, So., setter; Shannon Shields, Sr., setter; Hayley Nash, Sr., outside hitter; Juli Westfall, Jr., outside hitter; Serena Turner, So., outside hitter; Kaori Robertson, So., defensive specialist/libero; Kate Spellman, Sr., setter; Quinn Voorhees, Jr., middle blocker.

Head coach – Lamar-Renee Bryant. Assistant coaches – Chaz Arah, Kristen Preach. Team manager – Carmela Palmieri.

6A Conference first-round matches

(Seedings in parentheses)

Tuesday, Oct. 30

Mesa Westwood (16) at Gilbert Perry (1), Queen Creek (9) at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor (8), Mesa Desert Ridge (12) at Chandler Basha (5), Phoenix Desert Vista (13) at Tempe Corona del Sol (4), Gilbert Highland (14) at Chandler Hamilton (3), Scottsdale Chaparral (11) at Phoenix Mountain Pointe/Ahwatukee (6), Phoenix Pinnacle (10) at Mesa High (7), Mesa Skyline (15) at Phoenix Xavier Prep (2).

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Shields, Yeung are All-American nominees


A pair of Xavier Prep seniors are among 14 Arizona volleyball players nominated by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for Under Armour High School All-American status.

They are setter Shannon Shields and libero Ashley Yeung. Congrats to these two great Gators!!

Two dozen players will be selected for the All-American honor on Oct. 31, and another 72 players will be chosen Honorable Mention.

XCP volleyball girls happy to help children

The Xavier Prep varsity volleyball team recently participated in a community service project, along with Dad's Club Vice President Damon Knight and Dominic Palmieri at the Ronald McDonald House in Phoenix.

The Ronald McDonald House is a welcoming "home away from home'' for families with children facing medical challenges, providing an atmosphere of comfort, hope and courage.

Way to go, Gators !!

Xavier volleyball players join Ronald McDonald at his house for a great cause. (Photos courtesy of XCP volleyball).


There was plenty of work to do as the players helped prepare stuffed animals for kids.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Volleyball: Is there light at end of the tunnel?

They gathered in a dark corner of the gymnasium, almost cowering from the light instead of embracing it.

After being swept 3-0 by host Chandler Hamilton in the regular-season volleyball finale on Tuesday night (Oct. 23), where do Xavier Prep’s Gators go from here?

The defending 6A champions are 29-9, but are not playing their best volleyball by any stretch of the imagination. The Gators have three losses in their final five matches. There are breakdowns all over the court, but the main concern for coach Lamar Renee-Bryant is the players’ mental approach.

She has seemingly done everything to get them back in their proper lanes. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

“We have too many people who are afraid to be successful,’’ Bryant said. “We have a lot of young players on our team (nine underclassmen, five seniors), and that’s kind of where we are right now.’’

The door was left open for the Gators after Hamilton (31-9) suffered a surprising sweep at the hands of Chandler Basha on Monday night (Oct. 22).

Before playing Xavier, Hamilton had its player recognition night.

Bryant said she knew that Hamilton, which defeated her team 3-2 earlier in the season, would have the motivation and “go all-out for us. We just kind of rolled over.’’

The scores were Hamilton, 25-20, 26-24 and 25-21.

Xavier took two timeouts down the stretch in Game 1, the last with a 22-17 Hamilton lead, but the Gators could not get back into it. Game 2 was more competitive. Xavier had a 23-21 lead, but the Huskies went on a 5-1 run to close it out.

In Game 3, Xavier had a chance to make its move with the score tied at 16. Hamilton went on to score six straight points.

In all, Xavier had only eight blocks in the match.

Senior Jennelle Yarwood led the Gators with 11 kills, junior Jasmine Knight had eight kills and junior Bri McKnight had seven kills to go with her 15 digs.

Senior libero Ashley Yeung had 23 digs, sophomore Kaori Robertson had eight digs and senior setter Shannon Shields had 28 assists.

State tournament

The Arizona Interscholastic Association listed Xavier as one of its eight automatic state qualifiers on Wednesday (Oct. 24). The teams were not seeded, however, and the brackets were not released.

The brackets will be released in an AIA “show’’ on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on its Web site. There will be eight “play-in’’ games on Thursday night (Oct. 25) and those winners will be seeded accordingly in the final bracket.

The automatic qualifiers are Xavier, Chandler Basha, Tempe Corona del Sol, Chandler Hamilton, Mesa High, Phoenix Mountain Pointe, Gilbert Perry and Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor.

Thursday’s play-in games are . . .

Phoenix North at Queen Creek, Mesa Skyline at Peoria Liberty, Mesa Westwood at Yuma Kofa, Chandler High at Mesa Desert Ridge, Surprise Valley Vista at Scottsdale Chaparral, Surprise Shadow Ridge at Phoenix Desert Vista (Ahwatukee), Glendale Mountain Ridge at Gilbert Highland and Mesa Mountain View at Phoenix Pinnacle.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hamilton rally eliminates Gator badminton

The stakes were much higher on Monday (Oct. 22) for the badminton teams from Xavier Prep and Chandler Hamilton than when they played on Oct. 16.

The match at Xavier was a Division I quarterfinal pairing, and the winner would go on to the semifinals.

Xavier, seeded fourth, had defeated No. 5 Hamilton 5-4 in the earlier match, but this time the Huskies turned the tables to eliminate the Gators with a 5-4 win.

Hamilton, which defeated No. 12 Laveen Cesar Chaves 5-0 earlier on Monday, will play defending state champion Gilbert Perry in a semifinal contest on Wednesday (Oct. 24) at Scottsdale Chaparral. Peoria Liberty will meet Tempe Corona del Sol in the other semi for the right to play for the title on Thursday (Oct. 25) at Phoenix Sunnyslope.

Hamilton did it the hard way against Xavier.

Xavier won four out of six singles matches, meaning Hamilton would have to sweep the three doubles matches to take the match.

That rarely happens, but Hamilton pulled it out with the doubles sweep.

Xavier finished with an 11-4 record. The team came a long way from the early stages of the season when the players were being evaluated. Also, coach Susan Contreras was sidelined by an illness early in the season and remains out, so assistants Francis Hartojo and Karina Magana took over the bulk of the leadership duties.

Former head coach Nancy Meyer also assisted in many of the Gators’ matches.

“We did our best, but the other team didn’t quit and that’s a credit to them,’’ Hartojo said.

“They stepped up their intensity. I think they knew it would be a challenge for them to win in our gym, but they did it. Winning all those doubles the way they did doesn’t happen very often, but that’s the way it goes. That’s the way sports go, because you never know what is going to happen.


“We improved a lot during the season. It’s too bad we couldn’t have gone at least one step further.’’
Hamilton 5, Xavier Prep 4

Singles

Rujuta Sane, H, def. Maeve Lee, X, 11-6, 11-5; Taylor Dines, X, def. Mikenna Debruin, H, 11-5, 11-9; Jane Tiffany, X, def. Nichti Pulicheria, H, 11-1, 11-8; Samantha Diep, H, def. Mayse Dunn, X, 11-2, 4-11, 13-10; Sophie Riviere, X, def. Thealpia Liu, H, 11-1, 11-9; Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Madison Kosmatka, H, 11-9, 13-10.

Doubles

T. Liu-Abby Liu, H, def. Lee-Tiffany, X, 15-9, 15-12; Debruin-Kosmatka, H, def. T. Dines-Maddie Dines, X, 15-7, 15-10; Sane-Diep, H, def. Vanderwey-Dunn, X, 15-12, 15-10.

V-ball looks for 30th win in regular-season finale

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team will be aiming for its 30th victory of the season on Tuesday night (Oct. 23) when the Gators finish the regular season at Chandler Hamilton.

Xavier (29-8) fell to Hamilton 3-2 in a match at Xavier on Oct. 10.

The Gators swept Chandler High 3-0 in a match at Brophy Prep on Monday night (Oct. 22), 25-8, 25-15 and 25-11.

Hamilton, meanwhile, suffered a surprising 3-0 sweep against Chandler Basha. Hamilton is now 30-9.

Senior setter Shannon Shields led Xavier past Chandler with 15 assists, six kills and four blocks. Senior hitter Hayley Nash had seven kills and four service aces. Junior hitter Bri McKnight had six kills, sophomore libero Kaori Robertson had four aces and senior libero Ashley Yeung had 13 digs.

After the Hamilton match, the Gators will learn on Wednesday (Oct. 24) their final ranking. As of Tuesday morning, they were ranked No. 2. Final bracketing will be announced by the Arizona Interscholastic Association in the coming days and the state tournament begins on Oct. 30.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Big effort for Xavier-Brophy mountain bike team


Xavier-Brophy riders and coaches celebrate their outstanding effort on Sunday at McDowell Mountain Regional Park (photo courtesy of Rich Perrott).

The Xavier Prep-Brophy Prep mountain biking team was disappointed after the third race in the five-race season was canceled due to weather on Oct. 7.

But all of that was forgotten in the fourth race on Sunday (Oct. 21) at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills.

The Gators-Broncos finished third among Division I teams.

“We had a total of seven podiums for the day, and our first team podium and trophy,’’ said coach Rich Perrott. “This is an enormous accomplishment for our team, and we edged out some of the powerhouse teams in the league (Arizona Interscholastic Cycling Association) such as Flagstaff and (Sierra Vista) Buena.

“Our Xavier girls made the difference, and Hailey Schwartz was a first-ever podium award winner as a freshman. I could not be prouder of this amazing group of student-athletes.’’

In the JV-1 category, junior Heather Kwapiszeski finished seventh (1:03.23.45) over the 11.30-mile (total), two-lap course, and junior Erin Hill was 12th (1:12.18.16).

Schwartz was fourth in her freshman race at 1:03.04.93.

And XCP got an outstanding ride from Mary Hill in the seventh-grade race. She finished third (30:53.92) over the 6.2-mile (total), two-lap course.

The fifth and final race of the season will be held Nov. 4 at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park in the west Valley community of Waddell.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

Badminton hopes end after first day at state

The four Xavier Prep badminton players who participated in the Division I state singles and doubles tournament unfortunately did not make it past Friday’s (Oct. 19) first day at Glendale Independence.

Maeve Lee and Jane Tiffany played in singles and the sister tandem of Maddie and Taylor Dines played in doubles. All are seniors.

Lee was the No. 8 seed, and she reached the quarterfinals, where she fell to top-seeded Julia Mumme of Gilbert Perry, 11-3, 11-2. In the first two rounds, Lee defeated Jessica Jung of Phoenix Desert Vista, 11-5, 11-4 to open things up and defeated Tania Do of Glendale Mountain Ridge 11-3, 11-5 in the next round to advance to the quarters.

In the first round, Tiffany dropped an 11-6, 11-5 decision to Tatum Monk of Mesa Mountain View.

The Dines played fifth-seeded Nikhita Jayaraj and Ashley Rodarte of Gilbert Perry in the opening round. The Dines had a strong effort in the first game with a 17-14 win but Jayaraj and Rodarte came back for 15-8, 15-8 wins in the next two games.

The focus will shift to state team competition beginning on Monday (Oct. 22). Xavier Prep is the No. 4 seed and will play at home at the Activity Center. No. 5 Chandler Hamilton will meet No. 12 Laveen Cesar Chavez in the first round at 3:30 p.m. and the winner will advance to the quarterfinals against Xavier shortly after the completion of the first match.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Volleyball shows considerable improvement

“A lot better.’’

That was the assessment of Xavier Prep volleyball coach Lamar-Renee Bryant after her team’s three-set sweep of visiting Chandler Basha on Thursday night’s (Oct. 18) Senior Night.

Bryant had some concern after the Gators were dominated by Gilbert Perry on Tuesday night (Oct. 17), a match in which the team appeared somewhat lethargic and out of sync.

But the Gators were back to their old selves against Basha with victories of 25-13, 25-18 and 25-18 to push their record to 28-8.

Xavier has two regular-season matches remaining on the schedule – a “home’’ contest on Monday (Oct. 22) and a road match on Tuesday (Oct. 23) against Chandler Hamilton. Monday’s match will be played in the main gym at Brophy Prep because the XCP badminton team will be hosting the first two rounds of the state tournament at the Activity Center.

The early part of the first game against Basha was close, but Xavier pulled away. The Gators jumped to a comfortable lead in Game 2, scoring their final point when Basha tipped a Xavier return shot out of bounds. Junior Jasmine Knight put the finishing touches on the decisive third game with a kill.

“We were relaxed – more focused,’’ Bryant said. “We know the end (of the season) is coming and that’s when you want to be playing at a high level.’’

Xavier was much better with its service, blocking up front and overall defense.

Senior libero Ashley Yeung had numerous digs and senior setter Shannon Shields continued to spread the wealth among her teammates with accurate passing.

“All of the seniors stepped up,’’ Bryant said. “Especially Ashley. She went back to being Ashley.’’

The coach also pointed to the play of junior outside hitter Juli Westfall as a key element for the Gators.

The team’s six seniors were honored before the match.They were Yeung, outside hitter Jennelle Yarwood, Shields, outside hitter Hayley Nash, setter Kate Spellman and team manager Carmela Palmieri.

Gator crew rows the river Charles in Boston

The World Series in Boston? Sure, that’s a big event, but so is the Head of the Charles regatta.

Sunday’s (Oct. 21) Head of the Charles (River) is billed as the world’s largest two-day regatta, and Xavier Prep’s Crew team will be a part of those festivities for the third time. Xavier will be one of 84 teams competing.

Coached by Peter Figgins and Shannon Elford, here are the girls who will represent Xavier:

Junior Olivia Petrine, junior Taylor Killoren, senior Maddie Wickers, sophomore Ellie Steely-Judice and junior Zoe Wasson.

Good luck to the Gators !!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Badminton gets home court; singles, doubles start

Thanks to a 5-4 victory over Chandler Hamilton in its regular-season finale on Tuesday (Oct. 16), the Xavier Prep badminton team earned itself a bye in the first round and a home match in the quarterfinals, both on Monday (Oct. 22).

The Gators (11-3) will be the No. 4 seed behind defending champion Gilbert Perry, Tempe Corona del Sol and Phoenix Pinnacle. All four teams will get first-round byes.

On Monday, No. 5 Hamilton will meet No. 12 Laveen Cesar Chavez at 3:30 p.m. at Xavier. The Gators would face the winner after the conclusion of the first match.

The individual singles and doubles portion of the tournament will be held on Friday (Oct. 19) and Saturday (Oct. 20) at Glendale Independence (10 a.m. both days).

Four seniors will carry the XCP banner in individual competition.

Maeve Lee is the only seeded Gator – No. 8 in singles. She will open play against Jessica Jung of Phoenix Desert Vista. The winner advances to the next round later in the day. Jane Tiffany also is entered in singles, against Tatum Monk of Mesa Mountain View.

Xavier will have one doubles team – sisters Maddie and Taylor Dines, who will face Nikhita Jayaraj and Ashley Rodarte of Gilbert Perry.

Top 12 seeded Division I teams

1 – Gilbert Perry. 2 – Tempe Corona del Sol. 3 – Phoenix Pinnacle. 4 – Xavier Prep. 5 – Chandler Hamilton. 6 – Peoria Liberty. 7 – Chandler Basha. 8 – Mesa Mountain View. 9 – Mesa Skyline. 10 – Phoenix Desert Vista. 11 – Mesa Dobson. 12 – Laveen Cesar Chavez.

Frosh tennis "A" team wins eighth match

The Xavier Prep freshman tennis “A” team won its eighth match of the season in 10 attempts on Wednesday (Oct. 17) with a 7-2 victory at home over Tempe Corona del Sol.

According to the Xavier schedule, the “A’’ team has completed its season, while the freshman “B’’ team has two more matches – on Thursday (Oct. 18) at Chandler High and on Oct. 25 at Queen Creek Casteel.

Xavier Prep 7, Corona del Sol 2

Singles

Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. CDS, 8-2; Sammy Field, X, def. CDS, 8-5; CDS def. Piper Kilb, X, 8-3; Halston Yerxa, X, def. CDS, 8-5; Diana Briguglio, X, def. CDS, 8-2; CDS def. Caroline Purtill, X, 8-5.

Doubles

Chrostowski-Kilb, X, def. CDS, 8-5; Field-Yerxa, X, def. CDS, 8-6; Briguglio-Purtill, X, def. CDS, 8-5.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Perry's power leaves Gator v-ball in a daze

Since Xavier Prep’s volleyball team took Gilbert Perry to five sets in their match won by Perry on Sept. 26 at Xavier, it seemed logical to think that a similar type of match would unfold when the two teams reconvened on Tuesday night (Oct. 16) at Perry.

But it didn’t happen.

It wasn’t even close.

From the match’s opening serve to the final point, top-ranked Perry was dominant in every phase of the game.

The Pumas pinned the first three-game sweep on the Gators since the 2015 season, when the feat was accomplished by Chandler Hamilton.

The scores were 25-14, 25-16 and 25-18.

If there was good to come out of this, it was that Xavier remained at No. 2 in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s power-points rankings in the 6A Conference. Perry is No. 1, with Hamilton at No. 3.

Xavier, which also fell to Hamilton in five sets on Oct. 10, saw its record slip to 27-8. XCP will travel to face Hamilton in its regular-season finale on Oct. 23. In between, the Gators have home contests against Chandler Basha on Thursday (Oct. 18) and Chandler High on Monday (Oct. 22).

Monday's game will be played at Brophy Prep's main gym because XCP's Activity Center will host the first round of the Division I state badminton tournament. Badminton begins at 3:30 p.m., volleyball at 6.

The breakdowns against Perry started with the players’ mindset, and ranged from slow reaction time to blocking and other aspects, according to Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

“It was not a good mental match for us. Too much head space,’’ Bryant said. “We couldn’t get out of our own way.’’

The slow reaction time was particularly evident along the back line. Bryant said some of that was due to the fact that the front line was slow on its block attempts, which in turn led to the back line getting to the ball late.

Xavier had just five blocks for the entire match, and Perry’s Grace Doyle and Megan Schulte had five apiece.

Junior Bri McKnight led Xavier with 10 kills. Senior setter Shannon Shields has 12 digs and 17 assists, and sophomore defensive specialist/libero Kaori Robinson had 10 digs.

Swim-dive, frosh tennis "A'' earn victories

Xavier Prep’s swimmers and divers scored another big late-season victory on Tuesday (Oct. 16), rolling past host Chandler High 132-53. Xavier had won the Division I state championship in 2017 by a score of 321-263 over Chandler.

All three Gator relay teams triumphed.

In individual races, sophomore Mia Rankin won the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley, junior Vica Dow won the 100-yard freestyle, freshman Gracie Munk won the 100-yard backstroke and junior Olivia Paliscak won the 100-yard butterfly.

Xavier has another meet, on Thursday (Oct. 18) at Mesa Red Mountain, which finished fourth in last year’s state event.

Freshman tennis

Xavier’s frosh “A” team put up a strong effort on Tuesday with an 8-1 victory over host Gilbert Perry, while the “B’’ team was defeated by host Tempe Corona del Sol 8-1.

The “A’’ team was due to meet Corona del Sol at XCP on Wednesday (Oct. 17), and the “B’’ team is scheduled to travel to Chandler High on Thursday.

Xavier “A’’ 8, Perry 1

Singles

Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. P, 8-2; Piper Kilb, X, def. P, 8-5; P def. Halston Yerxa, X, 8-6; Diana Briguglio, X, def. P, 8-0; Grace Paul, X, def. P, 8-2; Caroline Purtill, X, def. P, 8-1.

Doubles

Chrostowski-Kilb, X, def. P, 8-5; Yerxa-Briguglio, X, def. P, 8-4; Paul-Purtill, X, def. P, 8-0.

Corona del Sol 8, Xavier "B'' 1

Singles

CDS def. Elena Titus, X, 8-1; CDS def. Caroline Cobb, X, 8-3; CDS def. Emily Lunt, 8-6; CDS def. Katie Anthony, X, 8-6; CDS 8, Virginia Brown, X, 8-5; CDS 8, Sophia Flores, X, 8-1.

Doubles

Titus-Cobb, X, def. CDS, 9-8 (7-5 tiebreaker); CDS def. Lunt-Anthony, X, 8-3; CDS def. Brown-Flores, X, 8-3.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Gator runners look strong in Titan races

Xavier Prep’s cross-country runners finished second in the 5K Big School Varsity race and won the 5K Big Schools Freshmen category on Friday (Oct. 12) in the Titan Invitational at Crossroads Park in Gilbert.

In the Varsity race, the Gators had six runners finish in the top 76 (107 entries). They scored 103 points, 20 behind first-place Chandler High.

The top runner for XCP was senior Karina Smith, 14th at 20:05.2. Other finishers were junior Grace Valandra, 20th at 20:23.7, senior Karli Baker, 22nd at 20:36.5, senior Johnnie Mitchell, 31st at 21:18.3, senior Josie Venezia, 33rd at 21:19.4, and junior Kaitlyn Lauck, 76th at 22:50.9.

With one of its most outstanding freshman classes in recent years, Xavier outdistanced Surprise Shadow Ridge, 29-58.

The Gators had three runners in the top 10 – Maria Benitez, 5th at 22:18.8, Ellie Higgins, 6th at 22:28.5, and Karime Morales, 8th at 22:47.8.

The other XCP finishers were Erika Germinario, 12th at 23:19.7, MK Fairbanks, 13th at 23:25.6, Catherine Devine, 14th at 23:49.9, Briony Campisi, 18th at 24:17.1, Hannah Wheeling, 20th at 24:18.6, and Lulu Fischer, 27th at 25:05.0.

Xavier had two runners in the Big School Open race. Sophia Healy was second at 22:23.5 and fellow sophomore Rishita Shah was 14th at 23:43.5.

The Gators will run next in the Division I, Section I race on Nov. 1 at Cesar Chavez Park in Laveen.

The state meet will be held Nov. 10 at the Cave Creek Golf Course in north Phoenix.

Swim-dive meet moved to next week

The swimming and diving meet between Xavier Prep and Chandler High at Chandler on Thursday (Oct. 11) has been rescheduled for Tuesday (Oct. 16).

Xavier also will have a road meet on Oct. 18 at Mesa Red Mountain.

Xavier "B" tennis slips past Notre Dame

Xavier Prep’s freshman tennis “B’’ team scored a hard-fought 5-4 victory over visiting Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep on Thursday (Oct. 11).

The “B’’ team will play its final three matches of the season on the road.

They are against Tempe Corona del Sol on Tuesday (Oct. 16), Chandler High on Thursday (Oct. 18) and Queen Creek Casteel (Oct. 25). The Xavier “A’’ team has two matches remaining – at Gilbert Perry on Tuesday and at home against Corona del Sol on Wednesday (Oct. 17).

Thursday’s result

Xavier Prep “B’’ 5, Notre Dame Prep 4

Singles

NDP def. Elena Titus, X, 8-0; NDP def. Emily Lunt, X, 8-1; NDP def. Katie Anthony, X, 8-2; Virginia Brown, X, def. NDP, 8-1; Sophia Flores, X, def. NDP, 8-3; Megan Scheller, X, def, NDP, 8-1.

Doubles

NDP def. Titus-Brown, X, 8-3; Lunt-Anthony, X, def. NDP, 8-5; Marissa Mansour-Scheller, X, def. NDP, 8-0.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Xavier golf looks good again, awaits state

Xavier Prep golfers have not played the Kierland Golf Club course in Scottsdale very often, but the Gators felt right at home in what likely was their final match of the regular season on Wednesday (Oct. 10).

In a makeup of a couple of recent matches (weather), the Gators shot a collective 2-under-par 142 over the par-36 (nine holes) to defeat Cave Creek Cactus Shadows (153, 9 over), Phoenix Pinnacle (155, 11 over) and Phoenix Horizon (162, 18 over).

Sr. Lynn Winsor, the co-head coach and athletic director who has led the Gators to seven straight state championships and 35 overall, said the match was a good test  for her team leading up to the Division I state tournament at the Omni Tucson National Resort on Oct. 29 and 30.

Last year’s tournament was played there. The Gators won the Nighthawk Invitational there earlier this season, played a recent practice round and hope to have another practice round next week.

Two-time defending state champion Ashley Menne led the way for Xavier in this match. The junior shot a 2-under 34. Junior Breyana Mathews was next with a 1-under 35, sophomore Lauren Garcia was at even-par 36, freshman Ivy Song was at 1-over 37 and sophomore Bailee Tayles was at 5-over 41.

Gator volleyball team in "a tough situation"

In order to play championship-caliber volleyball against a championship-caliber team, your players are going to have to be on top of their game every moment.

No time off on any play. No distractions. Play with confidence.

Xavier Prep coach Lamar-Renee Bryant knows this. Her Gators followed this path to success a year ago, when they claimed the 6A Conference state championship.

She likes to think that this year’s version will reach those same heights. Will the Gators play like they did a year ago, or will their level of play not match it?

You just never know.

At times, the Gators look like world-beaters. At other times, not so much.

Fans saw a both sides on Wednesday night (Oct. 10), when XCP faced Premier Region rival Chandler Hamilton at the Activity Center.

Xavier escaped with a 25-23 win in Game 1 of the best-of-five match and had a 21-15 lead entering the stretch run of Game 2. Hamilton then scored six straight points to tie it at 21 and went on to win 29-27. Hamilton easily won Game 3, 25-16. Xavier responded with a 25-15 victory in Game 4 and Hamilton took the match with a 15-12 win in Game 5.

Despite the setback, Xavier (27-7) remained in the No. 2 spot behind Gilbert Perry in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s power-points rankings that were updated Thursday morning (Oct. 11), while Hamilton (29-7) still was at No. 3. Xavier has 3-2 losses to both schools and plays both on the road again, on Oct. 16 at Perry and Oct. 23 at Hamilton.

“We have put ourselves in a tough situation,’’ Bryant said. “We want to get as high of a seed as we can (in the state tournament) and play a few games at home (to begin the tournament), but we’ll just have to see. There have been times when we went in as a “6’ and still won it.’’

Against Hamilton, she said, “We lost our confidence. We had the lead in Game 2 but we let it slip away. We should have been up 2-0. But give Hamilton credit. They are a very good team and they earned the win.’’

Despite being down in Game 2, Hamilton, which defeated Xavier two out of three in the recent Gilbert Invitational, didn’t seem distraught. The Huskies maintained their composure.

Xavier had junior outside hitter Bri McKnight return after nursing an injury, got strong play from junior middle blocker Jasmine Knight and good productivity out of sophomore setter Zaira Reyes and sophomore defensive specialist/libero Kaori Robertston in their increased roles.

The Gators lost a key front-line player during Tuesday night’s (Oct. 9) win at Phoenix Desert Vista. Rising sophomore talent Serena Turner suffered a sprained ankle and was on crutches for the Hamilton match. The Gators’ tallest player at 6-feet-1, it is uncertain whether Turner will be able to return.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Winsor's Hall of Fame induction is Nov. 1

The magic moment is almost here!

On Nov. 1, Xavier Prep’s very own Sr. Lynn Winsor will be officially inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame. The selection was announced in August.

Winsor, in her 45th year at XCP as athletic director, co-head golf coach and vice principal for activities, is among an impressive list of new inductees. That includes the late Arizona State and Arizona Cardinals football star Pat Tillman, 10-time Olympic swimming medalist Gary Hall Jr., University of Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea, former Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Mark Grace and former Scottsdale Chaparral softball coach Jeff Oscarson.

The event will be held at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Tickets may be purchased on the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame Web site, www.azsportshof.com.

Update: V-ball, badminton, frosh tennis "A' win

After a narrow loss to host Phoenix Desert Vista in the first game of its volleyball match on Tuesday night (Oct. 9), Xavier Prep rebounded for three straight wins to take the match 3-1.

Xavier (27-6) now faces Chandler Hamilton in a duel of Division I state championship contenders on Wednesday (Oct. 10) at the Activity Center. Hamilton was the only team out of seven opponents to defeat Xavier in the recent Gilbert Invitational.

There were some impressive individual numbers for the Gators against Desert Vista.

Junior middle Jasmine Knight led the way with12 kills and 10 blocks. Senior Jennelle Yarwood had 11 blocks. Senior setter Shannon Shields had 14 digs and 27 assists. Senior setter Kate Spellman had 15 digs and 14 assists. And senior libero Ashley Yeung had 18 digs.

Xavier will have two matches next week – on Oct. 16 at Gilbert Perry and Oct. 18 against Chandler Basha at XCP.

Badminton

Xavier’s badminton team saw its record improve to 10-3 with a 9-0 victory at Glendale Mountain Ridge.

The Gators play their regular-season finale on Oct. 16 at home against Hamilton.

Then the focus shifts to singles and doubles competition in the state tournament. That portion of the state will take place on Oct. 19 and 20 at Glendale Independence.

Freshman tennis

The Xavier “A” team played perhaps its best match of the season on Tuesday with a 9-0 victory at Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep.

The Xavier “B” team will face Notre Dame on Thursday (Oct. 11) at XCP’s Stark Tennis Center.

The “A” team has two matches next week – on Oct. 16 at Gilbert Perry and Oct. 17 at home against Tempe Corona del Sol.


Xavier “A” 9, Notre Dame Prep 0

Singles

Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. NDP, 8-1; Piper Kilb, X, def. NDP, 8-5; Halston Yerxa, X, def. NDP, 8-6; Diana Briguglio, X, def. NDP, 8-1; Grace Paul, X, def. NDP, 8-0; Caroline Purtill, X, def. NDP, 8-0.

Doubles

Chrostowski-Kilb, X, def. NDP, 8-3; Yerxa-Briguglio, X, def. NDP, 8-7; Paul-Purtill, X, def. NDP, 8-0.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Weather forces sports teams to adjust

Mother Nature was not very cooperative when some Xavier Prep athletic teams wanted to participate in a few recent competitions. Here is a look at what transpired:

Mountain biking

The XCP/Brophy Prep combined club mountain biking team was to ride in an event on Sunday (Oct. 6) in the third of the Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League’s five-race season, but the race was canceled at the Wren Arena in Fort Huachuca, near Tucson.

The race apparently will not be made up, so the season will continue with its next race, on Oct. 21 at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park in Fountain Hills. The final race of the season will be held Nov. 4 at the White Tank Mountain Regional Park in the far west Valley community of Waddell.

Golf

XCP was to face Phoenix Pinnacle on Oct. 2 at the Tatum Ranch Golf Club in north Phoenix, but the event was washed out. Also, another match with Phoenix Horizon and Cave Creek Cactus Shadows on Monday (Oct. 8) at the Camelback Golf Club Padre Course in Paradise Valley was postponed.

Those two matches now will be combined in what will be a sneak peek at teams that figure to challenge for state titles in a few weeks.

Xavier will play host to Pinnacle, Horizon and Cactus Shadows at 3 p.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 10) at the Kierland Golf Club in Scottsdale.

The Gators won the Division I state title last season and Cactus Shadows finished on top in the Division II race. Pinnacle was tied for third in Division I and Horizon was fifth.

The Division I and II state tournaments will be back at the Omni Tucson National Resort on Oct. 29 and 30. The tournaments were held there last season. Xavier won the Nighthawk Invitational there earlier this season and recently played a practice round there.

This week’s schedule

Other Xavier teams are back in action.

*The badminton team will travel to Glendale Mountain Ridge for a match on Tuesday (Oct. 9).

*The cross-country team will run in the Titan Invitational at Crossroads Park in Gilbert on Friday (Oct. 12).

*The freshman tennis “A” and “B’’ teams will meet Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep, the “A’’ team on the road on Tuesday and the “B” team at home on Thursday (Oct. 11).

*The swim-dive team will travel to Chandler High for a meet on Thursday.

*And the volleyball team will play twice, on Tuesday at Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee and at home against Chandler Hamilton in the Activity Center on Wednesday.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Gators win 6 of 7 in Gilbert v-ball tourney

It didn't carry the same intensity as the Division I state volleyball tournament, but it was pretty close.

Out of eight teams in the Gilbert Invitational over the weekend, there are some that have a chance to win it all – including Chandler Hamilton and Tempe Corona del Sol.

And Xavier Prep’s defending state champion Gators showed why they are a strong candidate to repeat.

They played four matches on Friday (Oct. 5) and three more on Saturday (Oct. 6) in the round-robin format, coming away with a 6-1 record. XCP defeated every team except for Chandler Hamilton, but Hamilton lost two other matches.

Xavier, now with a 26-6 overall record, did not have an easy time of it on Saturday. It defeated host Gilbert High handily in its first match. After a break that approached three hours, the Gators returned to the floor and were taken to three sets by Phoenix Mountain Pointe before earning the win.

In its final match of the day against Gilbert Highland, Xavier dropped the first game, but rallied to win the next two, including a 15-13 score in decisive third game.

“We are happy to pull out those three-game matches,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. “Highland is a scrappy team, and we were glad to be able to battle back.’’

Bryant could not say enough good things about the play of junior middle blocker Jasmine Knight.

She was there to reject opponents’ shots on many occasions, and scored much-needed points with her powerful swings.

“They were great matches for her,’’ Bryant said. “She took a lot of pressure off everyone else. This is the kind of Jasmine we are going to need to see for the rest of the season. She wants the ball (on offense), and when she gets it, she sees where the opponent is and is able to hit around them.’’

Senior setter Shannon Shields had some of her best games of the season in the tourney, and sophomore setter Zaira Reyes gave the offense a boost with senior Kate Spellman unavailable due to taking collegiate tests.

Bryant said she wanted the offense to play with more energy, so she instructed Shields to increase her workload as an occasional outside hitter. Shields’ power is greater than a lot of people might realize, and she seems to use it at just the right time.

The Gators have two matches during the coming week on back-to-back nights – at Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee on Tuesday (Oct. 9) and on Wednesday (Oct. 10) at home against Hamilton.

Xavier scores in Gilbert Invitational

XCP def. Chandler Basha, 25-16, 25-22.

XCP def. Phoenix Sunnyslope, 25-14, 25-23.

XCP def. Tempe Corona del Sol, 25-17, 25-27, 15-10.

XCP lost to Chandler Hamilton, 26-24, 18-25, 10-15.

XCP def. Gilbert High, 25-21, 25-21.

XCP def. Phoenix Mountain Pointe, 25-15, 24-26, 15-7.

XCP def. Gilbert Highland, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13.

Xavier runners 3rd in Asics Invitational

Xavier Prep’s cross-country team found the Asics Clovis Invitational race course in Fresno, Calif., to its liking with a third-place finish in the Girls Championship Division on Saturday (Oct. 6).

The Gators had 183 points, trailing winner Great Oak of Temecula, Calif. (84) and St. Francis of Sacramento (166).

The Xavier runners and their results in the 5,000-meter event:

Junior Mia Olsen, 23rd (out of 158), 18:25.9; sophomore Jamie Stelnik, 30th at 18:38.4; sophomore Sammy Braun, 42nd at 18:59.3; senior Karina Hawkins, 44th at 19:00.3; senior Helen Innes, 78th at 19:32.8; senior Karli Baker, 100th at 19:53.4, and senior Karina Smith, 121st at 20:14.4.

Xavier’s next race will be Friday (Oct. 12) at the Titan Invitational at Crossroads Park in Gilbert.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Golfer Menne earns national scholastic honor

Xavier Prep junior Ashley Menne is as good in the classroom as she is on the golf course.

Arizona’s two-time big school defending state champion has been named to the American Junior Golf Association’s 2018 Transamerica Scholastic Honor Roll. The AJGA so honored 31 girls in total.

Congratulations, Ashley! Well deserved!

Frosh tennis teams play it close

Xavier Prep’s two freshman tennis teams gave it all they had this week, but fell by identical 5-4 scores.

On Wednesday (Oct. 3), the “A” team was defeated by host Scottsdale Desert Mountain. On Thursday (Oct. 4), the “B” team also had a road match, this one at Queen Creek Casteel.

The teams will return to action next week, with both facing Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep.

The “A” team will go to Notre Dame on Tuesday (Oct. 9) and the “B” team will be at home against NDP on Thursday (Oct. 11).

Results:

Desert Mountain 5, Xavier Prep “A” 4

Singles

Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. DM, 8-2; DM def. Piper Kilb, X, 8-4; DM def. Halston Yerxa, X, 8-7; Diana  Briguglio, X, def. DM, 8-4; DM def. Grace Paul, X, 8-6; DM def. Caroline Purtill, X, 8-4.

Doubles

Chrostowski-Yerxa, X, def. DM, 6-3; Kilb-Briguglio, X, def. DM, 6-4; DM def. Paul-Purtill, X, 6-4.


Casteel 5, Xavier Prep “B” 4

Singles

C def. Elena Titus, X, 8-0; C def. Caroline Cobb, X, 8-1; Emily Lunt, X, def. C, 8-1; Katie Anthony, X, def. C, 8-5; C def. Sophia Flores, X, 8-3; Virginia Brown, X, def. C, 8-6.

Doubles

C def. Titus-Cobb, X, 8-2; Lunt-Anthony, X, def. C, 8-6; C def. Lauren Ashton-Flores, X, 8-2.

Badminton blanks Desert Vista for 3rd straight win

Xavier Prep’s badminton team continued to build on its strong 2018 season with a 9-0 shutout of visiting Phoenix Desert Vista on Thursday (Oct. 4).

The Gators (9-3) will play again on Tuesday (Oct. 9) with a road match against Glendale Mountain Ridge.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

XCP badminton proving to be strong road team

Xavier Prep’s badminton team is feeling almost as comfortable on the road as it does at home.

On Wednesday (Oct. 3), the Gators defeated host Mesa Skyline 8-1. That came on the heels of a 6-3 triumph over host Chandler High on Monday (Oct. 1). The Gators are 5-1 away from home this season.

Xavier, which entered Wednesday as the No. 5 power points team according to the Arizona Interscholastic Association, raised its record to 8-3. Skyline (7-6) was the No. 8 team. The Coyotes have won back-to-back East Valley Region titles and are trying for a third.

The key for Xavier against Skyline was that the Gators came back to win two singles matches and a doubles match, going the distance with third sets.

Xavier plays for the third straight day on Thursday (Oct. 4) when it plays host to Phoenix Desert Vista at the Activity Center.

Wednesday’s results

Xavier Prep 8, Skyline 1

Singles

Michaela Daas, S, def. Maeve Lee, X, 11-6, 11-7; Taylor Dines, X, def. Stephanie Quiones, S, 10-13, 11-4, 11-9; Jane Tiffany, X, def. Priscella Mendoza, S, 11-3, 6-11, 11-2; Mayse Dunn, X, def. Dyiaina Herrera, S, 11-6, 11-5; Sophie Riviere, X, def. Jasmine Ramirez, S, 11-3, 11-9; Lina Vanderwey, X, def. Emily Muir, S, 11-0, 11-0.

Doubles

Lee-Tiffany, X, def. Quiones-Mendoza, S, 15-10, 10-15, 15-6; T. Dines-Riviere, X, def. Daas-Ramirez, S, 15-2, 15-6; Dunn-Vanderwey, X, def. Herrera-Muir, S, 15-1, 15-7.

Gator volleyball ready for Gilbert tourney

Looks like Xavier Prep’s volleyball team is in a good spot entering the Gilbert Invitational tournament coming up this weekend.

The Gators are having two rare back-do-back days of rest (OK, practice) and are coming off their 20th win of the season, a three-game sweep of host Chandler High on Tuesday night (Oct. 2).

The scores were 25-13, 25-12 and 25-15.

“We now have two days of rest, which is big for us,’’ XCP coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said after the contest.

“We were able to establish our middles, which we haven’t really done in awhile, and we established our service line,’’ Bryant said.

And the Gators (20-5) appeared to play under control with more confidence.

“Emotionally, we were stable,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier scored seven straight points to forge ahead in Game 1. Another seven-point run offered the same outcome in Game 2. And the Gators polished off the Wolves (18-15) with five straight points late in Game 3.

Several Gators came up big in the stats department.

Senior Jennelle Yarwood had 11 kills and junior Jasmine Knight had 7 kills to go with her 7 blocks. Sophomore Serena Turner had 7 kills. Senior Hayley Nash had 3 service aces. Senior Ashley Yeung and sophomore Kaori Robinson had 12 and 11 digs, respectively. Senior setters Shannon Shields and Kate Spellman had 16 and 10 assists, respectively.

The Gilbert Invitational will feature a round-robin format and have eight teams, mainly East Valley except for Xavier and Phoenix Sunnyslope. Action begins at 9 a.m. on Friday (Oct. 5) and Saturday (Oct. 6).

The Gators will play four matches on Friday, against Chandler Basha, Sunnyslope, Tempe Corona del Sol and Chandler Hamilton.  Saturday’s opponents will be host Gilbert High, Phoenix Mountain Pointe and Gilbert Highland.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Gators down Chandler; other golf postponed

Xavier Prep’s golf team picked up another impressive victory on Monday (Oct. 1), defeating Chandler High by 41 shots at Camelback Golf Club’s Padre Course in Paradise Valley.

Xavier scores:

Junior Ashley Menne, 4-under-par; freshman Ivy Song, 1-under; junior Breyana Matthews, 1-under; sophomore Bailee Tayles, even; senior Eve Worden,1-over; sophomore Mary Beth Doss, 2-over; sophomore Lauren Garcia, 2-over; senior Emily Cons, 4-over; senior Laura Lu, 4-over; junior Sisi Wang, 5-over; senior Holly Otlewski, 6-over; junior Sydney Trout, 8-over; junior Danae Bravo, 9-over; freshman Kate Ryan, 9-over; freshman Audrey Sanchez, 14-over; and freshman Ava Mayberger, 21-over.

Xavier was due to play Phoenix Pinnacle on Tuesday (Oct. 2) at the Tatum Ranch Golf Course in north Phoenix, but it was postponed due to rain and wet grounds. That match likely will be made up in the next few weeks.

Xavier also has a match against Phoenix Horizon and Cave Creek Cactus Shadows on Monday (Sept. 8) at Camelback Golf Club, but that, too, will be rescheduled.