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, March 16, 2016

Fortified by depth, Xavier tennis rolls on

Every tennis team seems to have one or two very good players at the top of its list.
But what about the rest? If a team is to have a chance to win a state championship, it is imperative to develop depth.
Xavier Prep (7-0) to be doing just that as it attempts to win a fifth straight Division I state title.
That depth was evident on Tuesday (March 15) when the Gators collected their straight road win, 9-0 over Tempe Corona del Sol. On Friday (March 11), they defeated Gilbert Mesquite 9-0 and on Monday (March 14), they defeated Phoenix Desert Vista 8-1.
“We (coaches) are pleased with the progress they are making,’’ said coach Laurie Martin. “We’ve got some tough matches coming up, like (Chandler) Hamilton (on March 23), so it is going to take depth. There are several teams that have a shot at it (title) this year.’’
Martin has 74 players combined at all levels – varsity, JV, “B’ team and rookie. Between 25 and 30 players are freshmen. The JV team also is 7-0 after defeating Corona del Sol.
One of the outstanding freshmen is Tristanne Dechoux, who is a big hitter and very agile, covering much of the court with few problems. According to Martin, she has been playing the sport since age 4.
Martin said that Dechoux, who is close to 5-feet-10, “has a good combination of shots. She is very coachable and will be a force to be reckoned with.’’
Also playing key roles are Jordan Craft, Caroline Armknecht, Madelyn Corley, Shelby Daniel and Kati Straneva. Armknecht and Corley have raised their level of play after serving as alternates for last year’s state tournament.
“It’s all about having fun and playing good competition,’’ Martin said. “You have to stay on top of things, because anything can happen.’’

Results from the varsity match against Corona del Sol:
Tristanne Dechoux (X) won 6-2, 6-1.
Jordan Craft (X) won 6-4, 6-4.
Caroline Armknecht (X) won 5-7, 6-2 (10-5).
Madelyn Corley (X) won 6-0, 6-0.
Shelby Daniel (X) won 6-4, 6-2.
Kati Straneva (X) won 6-2, 6-2.
Dechoux-Craft (X) won 8-1.
Armknecht-Corley (X) won 8-1.
Daniel-Straneva (X) won 8-4.

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