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.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Few sand volleyball teams have Xavier's versatility

Xavier Prep sand volleyball coach Tim McHale acknowledges that there might be some teams out there that have more athleticism than the Gators.
“But what we do have is that we play with a lot of moxie, and that accounts for a lot,’’ he said.
The Gators are a thinking person’s team. They know where the opponent is not and can it there with regularity. They also serve well and communicate with each other.
Those aspects give the Gators a good chance to win their fifth straight Division I state title.
But first, XCP has to finish out the regular season. They have four matches to play before the state tournament.
The most recent conquest came on Wednesday (April 6), a 5-0 result against Phoenix Arcadia in 97-degree heat on Xavier’s “home sand’’ at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
Xavier now is 6-0 heading into its next match on Monday (April 11) against Gilbert Highland at the Gene Autry Sports Complex in northeast Mesa.
Four of Xavier’s five tandems won 2-0. The fifth team of Kasie Thompson and Macy Gordon (No. 2 in McHale’s lineup) did a nice job in coming back for a 2-1 victory after winning the first game, dropping the second and winning the third 15-12.
Other Xavier winners were:
No. 1 Caroline White and Cierra Flood, No. 3 Taylor Lopez and Kailey Klein, No. 4 Emma Cisneros-Luebke and Kristen Klein and No. 5 Trinity Cavanagh and Anna Heslin.
“We are very, very pleased to get a win over Arcadia,’’ McHale said.
Overall, the Gators appear to be showing improvement each time out.
“We have the ability to score points in crucial situations,’’ McHale said. “And we are able to establish control, not let go, keep the constant pressure on the opponent.’’

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