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, September 3, 2015

Frosh players' tennis skills are diverse

The assembled multitude, 93 strong, is in full mode as the Xavier Prep freshman tennis team takes the court.
It was so far, so good in the first two matches of the season as the Gators captured both by 9-0 scores, at Chandler Basha and at home against Chandler High, the latter on Wednesday (Sept. 2).
Coach Laurie Martin, her assistant coaches and volunteer assistants had all 93 players on six courts during the first week of combined practices, including those with intermediate experience and those just starting out.
The two main teams, the Blue and the White, were due to stage an intrasquad match at XCP’s Stark Tennis Center on Thursday (Sept. 3), but that was postponed due to weather concerns.
The next match for the Blue team will be on Tuesday (Sept. 8) at Chandler High, while the White will travel to face Chandler Hamilton on the same day.
In practice, the more experienced players compete in the official matches on regulation courts, while the beginners play against one another in color-coded “divisions’’ on 36-foot half courts. They also use tennis balls that are sponge-like. Once they get used to those, they graduate to the traditional neon spheres.
“That first day with everyone out here was a challenge, but everything flowed perfectly and I owe a lot of that to the assistants and volunteers,’’ said Martin.
As for the players’ skill levels, Martin said, “They are definitely improving.’’
She spends a lot of time with the inexperienced players.
“Having them on the short courts is good for them. They learn how to move, where to move and how to control the ball,’’ Martin said. “Within a couple of weeks, they should be able to get their serves in (bounds) consistently.
“We really have only about eight weeks to work with them, but we try to get the inexperienced on the right path to where they can develop, and the more experienced players more competition in some actual matches.’’
You never know what will happen out there in regard to the players working on their skill levels. That’s what makes it exciting.

(Names listed alphabetically, provided by coaches)
Lucie Anderson, Olivia Anderson, Rachel Arabia, Athziri Arzate, Bernadette Avila, Mitzy Avila, Allison Bayham, Gianna Beck, Lauren Beggs, Gisselle Bojorquez, Marybeth Bonner, Mackenzie Bouise, Lauren Brown, Sarah Byrne, Carleigh Cabano, Cydney Capulong, Annie Caris, Melissa Castro, Isabella Celtruda, Keerut Chahal, Miranda Chavira, Rocio Cigarroa, Katie Donaldson, Fiona Donovan, Anne Erblich, Isabela Evans, Claire Fable, Brisa Footit, Crista Gallo, Nina Gallo.

Jackie Ganem, Megan Gleason, Olivia Goldberg, Emily Good, Morgan Gruwell, Felicity Hacker, Jacqueline Hall, Jackie Haring, Hanna Hernandez, Madelyn Hook, Hailey Infante, Ivana Johnson,  Bridget Kelly, Catherine Kempton, Emma King, Ava Kline, Ava Koehler de Celaya, Kelsey Kurz, Patsy Langsmade, Izzy Lanning, Addy Livingston, Eve Loughran, Caroline Ludwig, Isabelle Mansour, Sara Marshall, Johnnie Mitchell, Bianca Nova, Kendall Nowell, Clair O’Connell, Zaira Padda.

Fiona Pan, Emily Pawluk, Madeline Perich, Jillian Peterson, April Platt, Madison Quintel, Gracie Rivera, Abby Riviere, Makayla Ruiz, Lydia Rush, Samantha Salim, Meade Schraff, Kate Shein, Chloe Simms, Brianna Simon, Veronica Skikos, Bianca Soto, Annika Sra, Kate Stegman, Lily Tierney, Jane Tiffany, Hayley Trueman, Natalia Valenzuela, Jordan Van Winkle, Natalie Vitols, Emma Woudenberg, Annie Wuycheck.

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