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, November 3, 2015

XCP v-ball all business in 1st round of state

A team can’t win a state championship unless it takes care of business in the first round of the tournament.
Xavier Prep’s second-seeded Gators did not mess around with visiting No. 15 seed Peoria Liberty on Tuesday night (Nov. 3), methodically disposing of the Lions in three sets, 25-12, 25-14 and 25-15.
Xavier, which ran its record to 32-7, will host a Division I quarterfinal match on Thursday (Nov. 5) at 6:30 p.m. against 10th-seeded Tempe Corona del Sol, which advanced with a 3-1 road win over Peoria Centennial.
Xavier defeated Corona in two games in the recent Gilbert Invitational.
“I think we match up well with both teams (Corona and Centennial),’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant before learning of that result.
“We had high energy tonight. We worked hard. Everyone got to play, we communicated, we executed and did a lot of the little things.’’
Bryant pointed to senior setter Callie Jones, junior middle blocker Makena Patterson and senior libero Kristen Largay as the players who excelled the most against Liberty. Sophomore Alyna Draper also played well at the net with a handful of powerful kills.
“We need to find another (powerful) arm and she (Draper) did a great job for us,’’ Bryant said.
If Xavier defeats Corona del Sol, it would advance to the semifinals on Saturday (Nov. 7) at Gilbert Mesquite against either third-seeded Gilbert or sixth-seeded Gilbert Perry. That match will begin at 4 p.m.

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