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.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tourney triumph is sweet for XCP lacrosse

Frosting-smothered cupcakes are a good treat on their own, but when they are distributed after a victory, the taste is much sweeter.
Xavier Prep’s lacrosse players enjoyed the moment after a 19-10 victory over Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep on Monday night (May 2) in a first-round game of the Arizona Girls Lacrosse Association state tournament at Arizona State University West in Glendale.
Now it is on to the semifinals on Wednesday night (May 4) at ASU West against Phoenix Pinnacle. XCP fell to Pinnacle in last year’s semis. Start time is 6 p.m.
Pinnacle also defeated the Gators, 14-8 and 14-7 in their two regular-season matches this year, but coach Rachael D’Angelo and her Xavier team vow not to be cupcakes for the Pioneers to simply smush and discard without a battle.
“With our attack (offense), we can score goals. What we need to do is step it up on defense,’’ D’Angelo said.
Early on against Notre Dame, D’Angelo had to be wondering a little if the Gators were going to give themselves a chance to advance.
They took a 2-0 lead, but it wasn’t long before Notre Dame, which lost to Xavier twice during the regular season and once during the preseason, had tied it up.
“I had a little bit of a heart attack,’’ D’Angelo said.
The Gators finally found their groove and went on to score four straight goals on the way to an 11-6 lead at halftime.
Xavier scored three unanswered goals to begin the second half, including two within the first minute, to establish a firm grip on things. The Gators thought they had scored a 20th goal for the first time this season, but it was waved off in the closing moments.
Leading the way for the Gators was Kayla Swanson, who had five goals, Caylie Wagner with three and Katie Hobaica, Katie Russell, Bella Johnson and Alexa Wear with two each.
“Hobaica, Swanson and Caitlin Blomo were huge on the attack,’’ D’Angelo said. “Savannah (Fatigoni) had a great game in goal.’’
Reserve keeper Anna Schrader also got some playing time in the second half.

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