Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Soccer is finally here, and Gators win big



At long last, after a drawn-out preseason and a season opener that was postponed due to wet field conditions, the XCP soccer team finally played its first game on Wednesday night (Dec. 10).
It was worth the wait.
The Gators had a 2-0 lead over Mesa Dobson at halftime, then the floodgates opened for six more goals in the second half for an 8-0 victory at Petznick Field.
“It was a good start, but we have lots to work on,’’ said Gators coach Barb Chura, whose team has been ranked No. 1 in Division I by azcentral.com in the early stages of the season.
“Being the first game, the ball movement was pretty good, although we are still a work in progress.’’
Chura was satisfied in general with the team’s play in the first half, but wanted to see more offense.
“I told them (players) about being more patient going toward the goal, to shoot the ball as if they were making a pass instead of going directly at (the goalkeeper). They paid attention and things started to flow more smoothly,’’ she said.
The coach also was pleased that she was able to split time between her two goalkeepers, senior Sydnay Tucker and freshman Kinsey Ehmann. Tucker played the first half, Ehmann the second.
“Both of them are very good,’’ Chura said. “I am confident putting either one out there. Sydnay has done a good job for us and I think Kinsey is only going to keep getting better.’’
Sophomore Madie Amavilah scored a goal in each half and sophomore Quiqui Hita scored quick back-to-back goals to get Xavier going in the second half.
The Gators’ next game will come on Friday (Dec. 12), a home encounter at Petznick Field with downstate rival Tucson Salpointe Catholic.


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