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, September 9, 2016

Gators maintain volleyball momentum

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team improved its record to 4-0 on the young season with a three-game sweep of host Anthem Boulder Creek on Thursday night (Sept. 8).
The Gators began the evening with a 25-14 victory. They were challenged a bit more in the second game, even trailing at one point, but managed to get back on track for a 25-19 triumph. XCP did not allow Boulder Creek to establish itself in the third game and won going away, 25-13.
Junior Lanie Wagner finished off the first game with a kill. A net violation and a return into the net by Boulder Creek figured in the Jaguars’ second-game demise. Boulder Creek tried to hang on in the third game, but Xavier surpassed the 20-point mark with a spirited effort, led by a pair of kills by senior Makena Patterson.
Xavier was riding a bit of momentum after a five-set victory at Gilbert High on Tuesday (Sept. 6).
“The Gilbert match was close, and we were able to carry that finish over to this match,’’ said Gators coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.
“Our service was better tonight and also our passing. We also had a better connection with the middles (blockers).” Bryant said.
The coach listed a few individual highlights – serves and sets by sophomore Shannon Shields, sets by senior Cierra Flood and the all-around match by 6-foot-1 Wagner, who already is being pursued by a handful of colleges.
Xavier has two matches next week, on Tuesday (Sept. 13) at home against Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor and Wednesday (Sept. 14) at Gilbert Perry. The Gators then hit the road next weekend for the Durango Tournament in Las Vegas on Friday (Sept. 16) and Saturday (Sept. 17).

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