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.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

XCP V-ball advances to face old rival Horizon

Now that the n-n-nervousness has subsided, perhaps the XCP volleyball team can come back strong and make a run at a second straight Division I state championship.
The third-seeded Gators opened state-tournament play at the Activity Center on Tuesday night (Nov. 4) with a match against No. 14 Mesa Mountain View.
Xavier struggled at times but managed a 3-0 sweep – 25-21, 25-11 and 26-24.
The Gators move on to the next round on Thursday (Nov. 6) and will play against rival No. 11th seed Phoenix Horizon at 6:30 p.m. The two have played three times this season, with Xavier winning all. Horizon has a young team but has improved quite a bit over the last few weeks.
Xavier defeated Horizon 25-22, 25-12 and 25-14 on Sept. 3, 25-23 and 25-20 in the Gilbert Invitational on Oct. 4, and 25-21, 25-20 and 25-22 on Oct.15.
Xavier had one loss in Arizona (to Phoenix Desert Vista) and lost twice in the Durango Invitational in Las Vegas – to Los Angeles Marymount and to Kamehameha, Hawaii. XCP’s record is 35-3.
Asked to assess her team’s performance against Mountain View, Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said, “We were nervous. There’s a lot on the line because it’s the state tournament and it showed. But we pulled together when we had to.
“I’m happy that we can practice again on Wednesday (Nov. 5) and get it all out of our system.’’
Xavier had not played for nearly a week before Tuesday’s match. Was there a little bit of rust?
“No, purely nerves,’’ Bryant said.
Xavier had six seniors on the roster a year ago, but this year has only two.
“It’s been a learning process for us,’’ Bryant said.

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