Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sand Gators dominate, look to finish unbeaten



One match now stands in the way of an unbeaten regular season for Xavier Prep’s sand volleyball team, and if the Gators play the way they did on Monday (April 18), they have a very good chance of finishing on a high note.
Showing the type of intensity and resolve befitting a possible state championship team, the Gators dominated visiting Gilbert Mesquite 5-0 at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
It was Xavier’s final home match of the regular season, and seniors Kasie Thompson, Ainsley Ramsey and Cecilia Sampaio were honored afterward with bouquets of flowers and tributary speeches.
Now the Gators (10-0) will face Queen Creek (3-5) at the Barney Sports Complex in Queen Creek on Wednesday (April 20) at 4 p.m.
Mesquite entered Monday’s match with an 8-1 record, having lost only to Tucson Salpointe Catholic in its previous match.
Xavier coach Tim McHale said the Wildcats might still have had the loss in their minds, but this was due more to the Gators being on top of their game.
“It’s a testament to who our girls are,’’ McHale said. “They were locked and loaded and ready to go. They feel they can encounter anything and survive.’’
Among the factors for the win, he said, “was that we served well today, got them (Mesquite) out of rhythm. We had variety with our serves and with our offense in general.’’
McHale had to tweak his lineup a bit because Thompson, normally on the No. 2 team with junior Cierra Flood, was not available to play.
McHale moved freshman Trinity Cavanagh from No. 4 to Thompson’s No. 2 spot and paired freshman Shea Sciarappo with Ramsey at No. 4.
The Division I state tournament will begin April 26 at the Victory Lane Sports Complex in Glendale (6 p.m.). Semifinals are April 28 at 6 p.m. The finals move to Mesquite on April 30 at 7 p.m.

Xavier results
Caroline White and Macy Gordon def. Mesquite 2-0.
Cierra Flood and Trinity Cavanagh def. Mesquite 2-0.
Taylor Lopez and Kailey Klein def. Mesquite 2-0.
Emma Cisneros-Luebke and Kristen Klein def. Mesquite 2-0.
Ainsley Ramsey and Shea Sciarappo def. Mesquite 2-0.



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