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.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Beach volleyball finds rhythm in first round

A coach never truly knows what he will get out of his players in the first round of the state tournament, especially after a week off for spring break.
Xavier Prep beach volleyball coach Tim McHale faced that scenario on Wednesday (April 19) when his top-seeded, five-time state champion Gators met 16th-seeded Queen Creek in the opening round of the Division I tournament at the new XCP facility just south of campus.
The facility, named in honor of the Cavanaugh family, was in top condition with solid new wrought-iron fencing, netting hanging above to prevent a stray volleyball from disappearing, and an inviting artificial-turf green ribbon around the edges of the courts.
When the Gators stuck their toes in the sand, they were just as impressive.
They rolled to a 5-0 victory, with all five pairs taking 2-0 wins.
Xavier (14-0) also will be at home for the second round, on Tuesday (April 25) at 4:30 p.m. against No. 8 seed Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor. The winner of that one will advance to the semifinals on April 26 at Gilbert Mesquite.
“That’s what we were trying to do, get back in rhythm,’’ McHale said. “All of the girls played well. We had a couple of days of practice before this, and then they settled in and did what they were supposed to do. We know we have some tough matches ahead of us.’’

Xavier-Queen Creek results
Cierra Flood-Macy Gordon, X, def. Queen Creek 2-0.
Trinity Cavanaugh-Taylor Lopez, X, def. Queen Creek 2-0.
Kailey Klein-Lydia Rush, X, def. Queen Creek 2-0.
Alyna Draper-Shannon Shields, X, def. Queen Creek 2-0.
Emma Cisneros-Luebke-Kristen Klein, X, def. Queen Creek 2-0.

Tuesday’s Division I quarterfinal schedule
(Seeds in parentheses)
Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor (8) at Xavier Prep (1)
Phoenix Mountain Pointe (12) at Tempe Corona del Sol (4)
Gilbert Mesquite (11) at Tucson Salpointe Catholic (3)
Goodyear Millennium (10) at Flagstaff Coconino (2)

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