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 22, 2015

Gators stop Coconino, advance to sand semis

Xavier’s Gators appear to be right on track toward winning their fourth straight sand volleyball state championship.
On Tuesday night (April 21), they opened the state tournament with a 4-1 triumph over Flagstaff Coconino at the Victory Lane Sports Complex in Glendale. Xavier is the top seed from Section I, while Coconino was the No. 4 seed from Section II.
Xavier now moves on to the semifinals, where it will face Surprise Valley Vista at 6 p.m. on Thursday (April 23).  Valley Vista is the No. 2 seed from Section II. The two have not met this season.
Valley advanced by defeating Queen Creek 4-1. The other semifinal on Thursday will feature Scottsdale Chaparral and Gilbert Highland. Chaparral defeated Scottsdale Prep 4-1 in the first round, and Highland took care of Surprise Shadow Ridge 4-1.
The two-player teams that secured victories for Xavier on Tuesday were Emma Cisneros-Luebke and Ainsley Ramsey, Kasie Thompson and Caroline White, Kristen Klein and Cierra Flood and Macy Gordon and Natalie Braun.
The conditions were ideal for the most part, although the wind picked up considerably through the middle of the match and caused the players to adjust.

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