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, December 28, 2016

Tough defense, Ferry's hat trick spark Gators

The Xavier Prep soccer team broke away in the second half after a 1-1 tie at the break and went on to defeat Long Beach (Calif.) Poly 5-1 in Tuesday’s (Dec. 27) first round of the Excalibur Invitational in Santa Ana, Calif.
Xavier (5-0) was due to play its game in the Round of 16 on Wednesday afternoon (Dec. 28).
Sophomore forward Kyla Ferry continued her strong early season play by scoring a hat trick. Senior Quiqui Hita and senior Olivia Chan also scored goals for the Gators. Freshman Jocelyn Rupp added a pair of assists.
Xavier was helped by some tactical adjustments in the second half, primarily putting a great deal of defensive pressure on Long Beach Poly’s players, and that led to numerous turnovers.
Xavier coach Barb Chura said that the game’s turning point came in the second half on a great save by junior goalkeeper Kinsey Ehmann. She flew through the air to make the big stop, and the Gators scored a few minutes later for a 3-1 lead.
Chan scored Xavier’s fourth goal. She shot the ball from about 40 yards out and put it in the upper corner, over the goalkeeper’s head. Ferry scored her third goal when she headed the ball into the net off a corner kick by junior Abby Hubbard.
Chura credited the play of defenders Katie Moore Nicole Hook, Lauren O’Sullivan and Chan, and midfielders Mady Chait, Maddie Amavilah and Rupp.
“It continues to be very good with the production we are getting from Hubbard, Hita and Ferry,’’ Chura said.

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