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, April 29, 2015

Gators open state team tennis with shutout

Top-seeded Xavier Prep took its first step toward winning its fourth consecutive Division I state tennis title with a 5-0 victory over No. 16 visiting Phoenix Trevor Browne on Wednesday (April 29). Xavier won every game but one.
The Gators will host a second-round match on May 6 against No. 8 seed Phoenix Pinnacle.
Xavier is 13-1, and coach Laurie Martin says that match and a few other close ones in the latter half of the season will keep the Gators’ attention as a contrast to last season, when the team breezed to the title.
“We are glad they had those challenges this season,’’ Martin said. “The tournament is going to get more exciting from this point on.’’
Some of Xavier’s top players will attempt to maintain their high level of play at the state individual singles and doubles competition this weekend at the Paseo Racquet Center in Glendale.
Top singles seed Madison Clarke will be attempting to win her third straight state crown, and the team of Scarlet Rush and Caroline James is seeded No. 3 in doubles.
“There is no replacement for match play, no substitute for that pressure,’’ Martin said.
Clarke, Rush and James won their singles matches on Wednesday, as did Emily Akin and Jordan Craft.

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