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, January 20, 2017

Ball bounces in Xavier's direction

Xavier Prep’s soccer team scored what was perhaps its biggest win of the season on Thursday night (Jan. 19), handing visiting Gilbert Perry only its second loss in 21 games, 1-0, at Petznick Field.
Junior Abby Hubbard scored the game’s only goal for the Gators, with about 21 minutes left in the second half. Hubbard sent the ball toward the goal on a corner kick, and the ball caromed off a Perry player’s head and into the net.
Also, junior Madeline Warren played in goal for the second straight game and came up with the big shutout.
Senior Elena Zurek had a big impact from the middle of the field with her all-around play. She was selected as the Player of the Game by coach Barb Chura.
“She was relentless in recovering balls, encouraging team play, and distributing to flanks to open up the Gator attack,’’ Chura said. “She also “rocketed’ two guided missiles on (the goal), which were miraculously deflected by Perry's goalkeeper.’’
Xavier (9-2-2) was prepared coming into the contest and was eager to play, according to Chura.
“We did well. We were organized and had a good offense,’’ she said. “We wanted to establish ourselves within the first 5-10 minutes of the game.
“I don’t think there was a question that we wanted the game more than they did.’’
The Gators will play their final home match of the regular season on Monday (Jan. 23) when defending state champion Phoenix Desert Vista visits. The match begins at 6 p.m.
“Desert Vista barely lost any players from that (title) team,’’ Chura said. “They are a really talented team.’’

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