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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Varsity lacrosse rallies past Hamilton in OT

Things did not look good for Xavier’s lacrosse team as the scoreboard clock dipped below the two-minute mark in the second half of regulation in the Gators’ match against visiting Chandler Hamilton on Monday night (March 30) at Petznick Field.
The Gators appeared to be a bit sluggish offensively most of the night, but some of that had to do with Hamilton’s “Mary Had A Little Lamb’’ defense. Everywhere that Xavier went, the Huskies were sure to go.
Xavier was trailing 8-6 with 1:39 left on the contest when the Gators awakened. Kayla Swanson scored to make it 8-7, and only 16 seconds later, senior leader Areta Buness took matters into her own hands when she sprinted more than half the length of the field and scored for an 8-8 tie.
It was time for overtime. Two three-minute “halves’’ and if the score was tied after that, a “sudden victory’’ period.
Swanson scored her fourth goal of the match with 1:33 left in the first “half,’’ then scored again as time expired in the second “half’’ to secure a 10-8 Xavier victory.
It was second overtime match this season, for the Gators, who are 8-1. They defeated Phoenix Pinnacle 19-18 in the season opener.
“It was hard for us to hold onto possession some of the time because they (Hamilton) played good defense,’’ said XCP coach Caitlin Bebout.
The coach said the Gators had some good passing during “the final stall,’’ designed to keep the ball away from Hamilton. Goalie Michelle Valenzuela also contributed to that by gloving shots and running behind the goal to allow her teammates to get set up and pass the ball off to them.
“We calmed down and that made the difference,’’ Bebout said.
“We also have some girls who do well under pressure and two of them (Swanson and Buness) showed that tonight.’’
The Gators now will be able to enjoy some time off during Spring Break next week and then gear up for a rematch at home against Scottsdale Chaparral on April 13 at 7 p.m. Chaparral is the only team to defeat XCP this season.

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