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, October 9, 2014

JV V-ball: Working to build the "X' brand

When the XCP junior-varsity volleyball team lost its season-opening match, coach Matt Rogers admitted he was a bit concerned about the welfare of the Gators.
“You always want to start off the season in a successful way, and I was kind of worried, you know, would that set the team back mentally, and how were they going to react?’’ he said.
Rogers’ young team showed resiliency, and from that point on lost on only one other occasion.
The Gators were near the top of their game on Wednesday (Oct. 8), rolling to a 25-18, 25-5 victory over visiting Scottsdale Chaparral, putting their record at 7-2.
“That might have been as aggressive as we have ever been,’’ Rogers said. “They went out and handled their business, did what they needed to do. We have dealt with some injuries and had a few challenges, but we have taken them on.’’
The team has had a good attitude all season, he said.
“We (Rogers and assistant Kristen Preach) push them hard in practice, but they always seem to have a smile on their face,’’ Rogers said.
It is all about improving the strength, quickness and confidence.
“We are building our “X,’ ’’ Rogers said. “What we want to do is be like the varsity as much as we can, mirror their style of play, preach the same skill-set.’’
Rogers’ players are . . .
Freshman middle blocker Grace Vaughn, freshman setter Caroline White, sophomore libero Emma Cisneros Luebke, outside hitter Kristen Klein, freshman outside hitter Allie Peterson, sophomore outside hitter Leila Camus, sophomore setter Sam Marx, sophomore outside hitter Macy Gordon, sophomore middle blocker Hazel Rogers, sophomore outside hitter Megan Lawless, sophomore outside hitter Julia Jacoby, sophomore setter Tori Tanigawa, sophomore libero Alexis Robinson and freshman middle blocker Alexis Diaz-Infante.

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