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, April 27, 2016

XCP sand team takes step forward in tourney

Step 1 has been completed, according to Xavier Prep sand volleyball coach Tim McHale, and now it is time for the Gators to move on to bigger (and hopefully) better things.
After downing Buckeye Verrado, 4-1, in the Division I quarterfinals on Tuesday night (April 26) at the Victory Lane Sports Complex in Glendale, Xavier continues its quest for a fifth straight state title when it meets Scottsdale Chaparral in the semifinals on Thursday night (April 28) at Victory Lane. Start time is 6 p.m.
Thursday’s winner will move on to Saturday’s (April 30) championship match against either Tucson Salpointe Catholic or Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor. The 7 p.m. match will be played at Mesquite High in Gilbert.
As his team was wrapping up its quarterfinal win over Mesquite, Chaparral coach Barry Hayes walked by a group of Xavier players and said, “Take it easy on us.’’
McHale knows better. He knows the Gators will have their hands full.
He said Verrado has a good, young team with some bigger athletes. “We did well on the block (at the net) tonight against their bigger girls, and that should help us prepare for Chaparral,’’ he said.
A few of the keys to the win over Verrado were the adjustments to the brisk wind that were made in some of the night’s early matches, and the dominant performance by XCP’s No. 2 team of junior Cierra Flood and senior Kasie Thompson. Included was a 21-4 victory.
“We played well the whole day and we were very close to making it 5-0,’’ McHale said. “We showed good poise.’’

Xavier results
Caroline White and Macy Gordon def. Verrado 2-0.
Cierra Flood and Kasie Thompson def. Verrado 2-0.
Taylor Lopez and Kailey Klein def. Verrado 2-0.
Emma Cisneros-Luebke and Kristen Klein lost to Verrado 2-1.
Ainsley Ramsey and Alyna Draper def. Verrado 2-0.

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