DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four 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, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Varsity, JV badminton open with sweep of Chaparral

XCP’s varsity and junior-varsity badminton teams opened the 2014 season with resounding triumphs over Scottsdale Chaparral on Wednesday (Aug. 27) at Xavier.
The varsity, which captured the Division I state championship in 2013, was a 9-0 winner over the Firebirds, as was the JV.
“Considering it was the first match, we looked pretty good, and the younger girls, particularly on the JV, stepped it up,’’ said varsity and JV head coach Nancy Meyer.
The mid-afternoon match drew a good gathering of spectators.
They watched Xavier’s No. 1 player, Areta Buness, defeat Chaparral’s JoVanna Romeo 11-3, 11-4.
And the Gators’ top doubles team of Mallory Belknap and Teal Weaver posted a 15-5, 15-13 win over Michaela Soden and San Bracken. The second game was touch and go before the Xavier duo managed to get the sweep.

Xavier's No. 1 doubles team of Mallory Belknap, left, and Teal Weaver, center, receive instruction from assistant coach Francis Hartojo in between games.

After playing with other doubles partners last season, this was the first time that Belknap and Weaver played together in an official match.
“We were kind of rusty and we need to figure stuff out, ‘’ Belknap said. “The biggest thing is communication, continuing to let each other know what we are doing. But that shouldn’t take too long for us to improve.’’
Asked about the pair’s strengths, Belknap said, “I am a better “dropper’ and Teal is a better “smasher.’ ’’
Belknap and Weaver wore matching “Angry Birdies’’ T-shirts (after all, this is badminton) from a season or two ago. They had fun but were all business at the same time.

Teal Weaver, left, and Mallory Belknap wore colorful T-shirts while winning their first doubles match of the season against Scottsdale Chaparral.

“It was an exciting first game,’’ Weaver said. “I think we will be more focused as the season goes along.’’
The Gators were scheduled to play again on Friday (Aug. 29) at Desert Vista in Ahwatukee, but that match has been postponed until Oct. 17.
So the team’s next match will be Sept. 9 at Phoenix Sunnyslope with a start time of 3:30 p.m.

Results vs. Chaparral

Varsity singles

No. 1 Areta Buness, XCP, def. JoVanna Romeo, C, 11-3, 11-4.
No. 2 Kirielle Singarajah, XCP, def. Michaela Soden 11-2, 11-3.
No. 3 Teal Weaver, XCP, def. Aily Bracken 11-1, 11-9.
No. 4 Mallory Belknap, XCP, def. San Bracken 11-5, 11-0.
No. 5 Maisie Porter, XCP, def. Jenkah Davis 11-2, 11-2.
No. 6 Laura Pearl, XCP, def. Mooria Walker 11-1, 11-0.

Varsity doubles

No. 1 Teal Weaver-Mallory Belknap, XCP, def. Michaela Soden-San Bracken, C, 15-5, 15-13.
No. 2 Kirielle Singarajah-Maisie Porter, XCP, def. JoVanna Romeo-Aily Bracken 15-5, 13-15, 15-4.
No. 3 Areta Buness-Laura Pearl, XCP, def. Jenkah Davis-Mooria Walker 15-1, 15-0.

JV singles

No. 1 Katie Russell, XCP, def. Lauren Prince, C, 11-0, 11-0.
No. 2 Sydney LaPierre, XCP, def. Chrissy Pear, 11-1, 11-1.
No. 3 Kioena McDonald, XCP, def. Allin Pear, 11-0, 11-2.
No. 4 Tatum Clark, XCP, def. Linda Puccini, 11-1, 11-0.
No. 5 Katie Harris, XCP, def. Tpaisna Patel, 11-1, 11-0.
No. 6 Adanna Padda, XCP, def. Brinna McCool, 11-0, 11-0.

JV doubles

No. 1 Katie Russell-Sydney LaPierre, XCP, def. Lauren Prince-Missy Pear, C, 15-1, 15-1.
No. 2 Kioena McDonald-Tatum Clark, XCP, def. Allin Pear-Linda Puccini, 15-0, 15-5.
No. 3 Katie Harris-Adanna Padda, XVP, def. Tpaisna Patel-Brinna McCool, 15-5, 15-0.

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