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 2, 2015

Strong showing for soccer in 3-0 opening win

These days, you don’t have to be a senior to have an impact on the outcome of a high school sporting event, particularly on the girls’ side.
The Xavier Prep basketball team is proving it with outstanding freshmen, and the soccer team followed suit in its season opener at home on Tuesday night (Dec. 1) against Scottsdale Desert Mountain.
Freshman midfielder Emily Chiao, already drawing attention in some national circles, had a stellar debut for the Gators, scoring a goal and assisting on the team’s two additional scores in a 3-0 victory.
It was the first of three games for XCP this week, all at home. Gilbert Campo Verde is the opponent on Thursday night (Dec. 3), and Phoenix Mountain Pointe on Friday night (Dec. 4).
There was some concern about how the team would fare against Desert Mountain after it struggled in a recent scrimmage against Gilbert Perry.
Those fears were put to rest with a pair of first-half goals and the third goal in the second half.
Sophomore Nicole Hook scored with 15 minutes left in the first half on an assist from Chiao, and Chiao booted one home at the 11:44 mark.
Xavier secured the win on a goal by junior Quiqui Hita with 8:47 left in the second half. Chiao again was there for the assist.
“We definitely got better since the scrimmage,’’ said Gators coach Barb Chura. “Our passing was much better and No. 5 (Chiao) was a big difference (Chiao did not play in the scrimmage).’’
The coach also was encouraged by her team’s depth.
“The people who went in . . . the reserves all helped to change the game,’’ she said.
Chura also mentioned another freshman, midfielder Kyla Ferry, as a player ready to break out.
Now the Gators have something they can build on.
“You stand there (on the sideline) and see things here and there that we need to work on, but I was generally pleased with how we played,’’ Chura said. “That’s a good team we just beat.’’

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