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, August 30, 2017

Volleyball dominates opener vs. Mtn. View

The 2017 volleyball season began for Xavier Prep on Tuesday night (Aug. 29) and there was no net letdown on the part of the Gators.

The team was near the top of its game in the season opener against Mesa Mountain View, recording a 25-8, 25-16, 25-8 sweep at the Activity Center.

“It was a great start for us,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. “We had a lot of energy, a lot of discipline and we were focused.

“Once we settled in, we became more comfortable. We were able to execute our offense, and when we do that, we are tough to stop.’’
On the way to a sweep: winning a match 3-0 can make you smile a lot. (Photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).
Junior Trinity Cavanaugh gave the Gators a boost in the first game with four service aces. They helped build an 8-2 lead, and the team never looked back from there.

Mountain View was a bit more competitive in the second game, creating four ties about midway through the contest.

Sophomore Bri McKnight stepped up in this one with several big kills and good service skills.

It was an encouraging sign, Bryant said, because McKnight had been nursing a sore shoulder.

In the third game, Xavier broke an early tie and went on a 7-0 run to get control.

That enabled Bryant to use most of her bench and get everyone some valuable playing time.

“Everybody played at a high level,’’ Bryant said.

Senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner (18) sends a powerful shot over Mountain View defenders.
The coach praised the play of senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner, senior libero Alyna Draper and was pleased with the ball distribution of junior setter Shannon Shields. Another player to watch closely is freshman outside hitter Serena Turner, who appears to be gaining strength and confidence at the net each time out.

Next up for the Gators is a match at Goodyear Millennium on Thursday (Aug. 31). Start time is 6 p.m.

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