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, December 9, 2015

Defense plays crucial role in soccer triumph

Chalk up another victory for the Xavier Prep soccer team.
Facing their toughest competition to date, the Gators scored a pair of first-half goals and then turned to their defense to keep visiting Chandler Hamilton from getting close in a 3-1 triumph on Tuesday night (Dec. 8).
The win enabled XCP to remain unbeaten at 4-0.
“Hamilton is a really good team and always gives us a good match,’’ said Xavier coach Barb Chura. “They are quick and fast and they know how to play.’’
The Gators got first half goals from freshmen Kyla Ferry and Emily Chiao to build a 2-0 lead at the intermission. Chiao also assisted on Ferry’s goal.
Ferry made an assist in the second half on a goal by sophomore Abby Hubbard with 8:07 left. Hamilton scored its goal with 6:41 left on a rebound of a deflection off the hands of Gators goalkeeper Kinsey Ehmann.
Junior Quiqui Hita had a strong game up front for Xavier, helping to keep the ball alive on numerous occasions.
“It was a tale of two halves,’’ Chura said. “We dominated in the first half and Hamilton came back in the second half.
“But our defense was able to hold it together. We didn’t give them too many chances.’’
Tuesday’s game was Xavier’s last at home in 2015. The Gators take to the road on Monday (Dec. 14) for a game at Gilbert High. Xavier also will play in the three-day Excalibur Soccer Invitational from Dec. 28-30 in Santa Ana, Calif. Xavier’s next home contest will be Jan. 5 against Phoenix Pinnacle.

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