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.

Friday, January 23, 2015

"Flat' Gators still manage to get soccer win

The sign of a good team is that it can find a way to win when it is not playing at the top of its game.
Xavier’s Gators fit into that category on Thursday night (Jan. 22) with a 4-1 victory over visiting Phoenix Mountain Pointe (Ahwatukee).
Xavier (14-1) had a 3-1 lead at halftime, had a fourth goal in the second half waved off because of an offsides ruling and then got the fourth goal with less than a minute left in the contest.
“We’ve played better,’’ said Gators coach Barb Chura. “We did some good things, but didn’t play our best game. We were a little flat.’’
Xavier’s first two goals were scored by Tessa Zaccagnio, who scored three of the team’s four goals in a 4-0 road win over Mesa Mountain View on Tuesday night (Jan. 20).
That the goals were scored so early, within the first 10 minutes, might not have worked as much in Xavier’s favor as they could have.
“Psychologically, you sometimes tend to let up a little bit and not really play with a sense of urgency,’’ Chura said.
Elena Zurek scored Xavier’s third goal for a 3-0 lead with about two minutes left in the first half, and Mountain Pointe got its goal with less than a minute left in the half.
Amanda Lane nearly scored with 30 minutes left in the second half, but the ball was tipped up and back over the goal by the Pride goalkeeper, who had a solid game despite giving up the four goals.
A few moments later, Lane put the ball in the net, only to have the offsides call take it away.
Lane finally got on the ledger by getting the ball just inside the right post for Xavier’s last goal.
“That might have been our best goal,’’ Chura said. “The defense kind of backed up, thinking Amanda was going to pass the ball over to Tessa, but Amanda saw that and decided to take the shot herself.’’
Xavier plays its final three matches of the regular season next week. First up is Mesa Westwood at home on Monday (Jan. 26), followed by a road match at Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Tuesday (Jan. 27) and the home finale against Chandler Hamilton on Thursday (Jan. 29).

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