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.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Gators advance to soccer semis with OT victory

The pass from Quiqui Hita was one of the best soccer set-ups you would want to see.
The ball sailed in front of the goal and Alison Broderick put it in the net with 3:47 left in the first overtime, and top-seeded Xavier Prep kept visiting No. 8 Gilbert Campo Verde off the board in both extra sessions for a 2-1 victory and advanced to the Division I semifinals on Saturday (Feb. 6).
The Gators (16-3) will face fourth-seeded Chandler Hamilton on Tuesday night (Feb. 9) at 7 in a semifinal match-up at Campo Verde. The other semifinal, at 5 p.m., features No. 7 seed Scottsdale Desert Mountain and No. 3 Phoenix Desert Vista.
Xavier defeated Hamilton 3-1 on Dec. 8 at Petznick Field.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re No. 1 or No. 16, anything could happen and you could get beat by anybody,’’ said Xavier coach Barb Chura.
“This game went a little differently than we thought it would (especially after Xavier defeated Campo Verde 5-0 on Dec. 3). It could have gone either way. But Campo Verde is a good team. They were the state runner-up last year (in Division II) and this year they tied Hamilton and Desert Vista.’’
Campo Verde was a much different team than the one that fell to the Gators earlier in the season. The Coyotes played a physical game and loaded up on the defensive end to keep the Gators away from the goal.
The approach worked until 28:30 remained in the second half, when junior Olivia Chan gave Xavier a 1-0 lead with a header for the goal.
Campo Verde made it 1-1 with 13:29 left on a penalty kick by senior team captain Sebrina Rodriguez.
It was the only blemish in the otherwise stellar effort by Xavier goalkeeper Kinsey Ehmann.
Xavier had a chance to win it with 4:45 left in regulation, but the Campo Verde goalkeeper stopped a penalty kick by the Gators.
In the first of the two 10-minute overtimes, the long pass from the right side by Hita set up Broderick.
“That’s the type of thing that you expect Quiqui to do,’’ Chura said. “She is playing better than she ever has. The play showed her maturity. As a younger player (Hita now is a junior), she might have just taken the shot herself.
“Alison (a freshman) just has that knack for scoring.’’
At the break between the first and second overtimes, Chura was quick to remind her players “that it’s like it’s 0-0. You need to worry about trying to go forward in the state tournament. You have to stay positive and play in the moment.’’

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