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, March 8, 2017

Gordon-Flood duo helps XCP defeat Perry

Xavier Prep beach volleyball coach Tim McHale was looking for a good match against a quality opponent when Gilbert Perry arrived at XCP for a Division I match on Tuesday (March 7).
Perry entered the contest having won its first three matches while Xavier was 2-0.
A 5-0 sweep always is the goal, but Xavier had to earn its keep on this occasion, winning 4-1.
The Gators are now 3-0 entering Friday’s (March 10) match against Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor at the Victory Lane Complex in Glendale. It is the site of state tournaments past, something with which the Gators have a great deal of experience. They have won the state title in all five of the years of the sport’s existence.
“Perry is a good team and has a lot of good qualities that make it successful,’’ McHale said. “It was a good test, and we’ll take it (final result).
“We know we still have a lot of work to do, focusing on fixes that will help us play better in crucial situations.’’
Expect Xavier’s top duo of seniors Macy Gordon and Cierra Flood to be ready for whatever comes at them.
They have an array of serves and shots to keep opponents off balance.
Gordon and Flood took a 2-0 win, one of four shutouts on the day.
Gordon is perhaps the team’s best athlete. There are very few spots on the sand that escape her reach. She is a strong jumper, can be ambidextrous at times and has been working on the “Sky Ball’’ serve.
Gordon has been working on the serve during the California beach seasons and it was suggested by her future coach at Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo) to include the serve in her arsenal.
“It’s fun, but it has a practical purpose,’’ McHale said.
Used primarily in a beach setting, the server tosses the ball high above in a straight line and sends the ball over the net in an underhand motion that sometimes looks like a backhand.
Opponents have difficulty receiving and passing the ball, and those problems can be even greater when the ball is affected by wind and the blinding sun.
Flood is proficient in using the “Cutty,’’ or cut shot. She approaches the net as if she is going to spike the ball and slows the arm motion down to hit the ball diagonally near the opponents’ sideline where the players seldom can recover in time for a return.

Xavier Prep 4, Perry 1
Perry def. Trinity Cavanaugh-Kristen Klein, X, 2-1.
Kailey Klein-Taylor Lopez, X, def. Perry, 2-0.
Macy Gordon-Cierra Flood, X, def. Perry, 2-0.
Juliann Westfall-Abby Converse, X, def. Perry, 2-0.
Lydia Rush-Alyna Draper, X, def. Perry, 2-0.

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