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, January 29, 2015

Umbrella weather perfect for Gators

A steady rain was not about to dampen the spirits of Xavier’s soccer players on Thursday night (Jan. 29).
The Gators had work to do. After a tough 1-0 setback at Scottsdale Desert Mountain on Tuesday night (Jan. 27), they wanted to come back and finish strong in their regular-season finale against visiting Chandler Hamilton.
They did just that, scoring a pair of first-half goals and letting the defense take over in the second half for a 2-0 victory.
The Division I state tournament seedings will be announced on Friday (Jan. 30) at 2 p.m. and the top three likely will be Desert Mountain, Xavier and Hamilton. All are expected to get home games in the first round that begins next week.
“Any time you lose, people think that you are playing badly,’’ Xavier coach Barb Chura said of the loss to Desert Mountain. “But we aren’t. We have been playing well all along.’’
The Gators won’t change much, if anything, in the tournament. They will rely on strong defense and goal keeping and the play in front of the goal by their leading scorer, senior forward Tessa Zaccagnio.
Zaccagnio got the assist on the opening goal by freshman Abby Hubbard with 25:09 left in the first half. At the 9:13 mark, Zaccagnio was on the receiving end of an assist from Amanda Lane for the 2-0 lead.
Hamilton came back in the second half and had several scoring attempts, but could not put the ball in the net.
“We knew they were going to come back strong,’’ said Chura, whose team is 16-1-1. “They are a very good team.’’

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