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, August 25, 2017

Badminton Gators are road warriors

Playing on the road doesn’t appear to be affecting Xavier Prep’s badminton team much in the early stages of the 2017 season.

The Gators came away with their second road triumph in as many days on Thursday (Aug. 24), 6-3 over Tempe Corona del Sol. Xavier had defeated Mesa Red Mountain by the same score on Wednesday (Aug. 23).

Four of the team’s next five matches also are away from home.

“Yesterday (Wednesday), there were a lot of nerves, but we managed to survive,’’ said Xavier coach Susan Contreras. “Today (Thursday), we walked into the gym knowing we were going to have a tougher match on our hands.

“It definitely helped to have that first match on Wednesday. We seemed to come in here more prepared. We didn’t let some of the little things bother us.’’

The Gators won five of six singles matches and one of the three doubles contests.

Two of the three singles matches were stretched to three games.

Senior Maddie Reinhart dropped the first game to her Corona del Sol opponent, 11-7, but came back for a pair of 11-9 wins. Junior Misaal Irfan won her first game 11-2. She fell in the second game 11-7 and returned in the third for a decisive 11-1 win.

“What Maddie did was a key for us after she lost that first one,’’ Contreras said. “She was able to regain her focus and then maintained it.’’

Senior Alexa Wolfson also had a productive afternoon with an 11-5, 11-1 singles win and then teamed with Reinhart for a 15-13, 15-4 win in doubles.

Xavier’s next match is Tuesday (Aug. 29) at Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor in the north Valley.

Xavier Prep 6, Tempe Corona del Sol 3

Maddie Reinhart, X, def. Corona del Sol 3-11, 11-9, 11-9
Alexa Wolfson, X, def. Corona del Sol 11-5, 11-1
Mimi Zurbriggen, X, lost to Corona del Sol 5-11, 10-13
Misaal Irfan, X, def. Corona del Sol 11-2, 7-11, 11-1
Maeve Lee, X, def. Corona del Sol 11-6, 11-2
Anai Hernandez, X, def. Corona del Sol 11-7, 11-4

Reinhart-Wolfson, X, def. Corona del Sol 15-13, 15-4
Zurbriggen-Irfaan, X. lost to Corona del Sol, 3-15, 2-15
Lee-Hernandez, X, lost to Corona del Sol 12-15, 12-15

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