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, December 13, 2016

Xavier soccer keeps Highland in check

The blueprint for Xavier Prep’s soccer success is to score as early and often as possible, then put the pressure on opponents by applying defensive pressure.
The approach was quite successful for the Gators on Monday (Dec. 12) as they built a three-goal lead at halftime and added three more in the second half for a 6-1 victory over visiting Gilbert Highland.
The Gators (4-0) will wrap up final exams this week, practice this week and next and then head to Santa Ana, Calif., for the three-day Excalibur Soccer Invitational from Dec. 28-30.
Senior Quiqui Hita and sophomore Kyla Ferry each scored a pair of goals against Highland. Senior Madie Amavilah and senior Olivia Chan accounted for the other two goals.
“We looked good at times. We had some good passing, then sometimes not,’’ said Xavier coach Barb Chura.
“We came out fast and scored some good goals to kind of put the pressure on the other team.’’
The Gators continue to be like a block of clay, pushed and shaped into a consistent group.
“I like our team,’’ Chura said. “Part of the situation is reading other teams, see what they do. We also need to continue to develop some depth and make sure we make good decisions. We need to try to find the right combinations (personnel).’’
The coach likes what she sees in regard to what she calls the “front three.’’ That would be Hita, Ferry and junior Abby Hubbard, who have passed the ball well and kept it in play to find the best possible shot attempts. Junior Mady Chait also has provided a boost up front.
The defense is showing some encouraging signs with the play of junior Nicole Hook and senior Katie Moore.

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