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, August 24, 2017

XCP solid in 4-way volleyball scrimmage

Playing against each other in practice every day is one thing – finally getting the chance to face a different school is another.

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team got that opportunity on Wednesday (Aug. 23) when it participated in a four-way scrimmage with host Chandler Hamilton, Chandler Basha and Phoenix Sunnyslope.

No scores were kept, but the Gators won five of their six “games.’’ Teams were on a time limit of 25 minutes against each of the other schools.

Xavier was impressive most of the night, prompting coach Lamar-Renee Bryant to say, “It was a good starting point, but there are still some things we need to work on.’’

XCP played Basha first, and had “unofficial’’ scores of 19-14 and 23-10. Next came Sunnyslope, and Xavier had 17-11 and 19-8 wins. Last was Hamilton, and the two teams finished with a split, 19-13 for Xavier and 16-14 for Hamilton.

The Gators played good defense for the most part, getting some key blocks from sophomore Jasmine Knight, senior Alexis Diaz-Infante and even a few from promising freshman Serena Turner.

Against Sunnyslope, junior setter Shannon Shields’ serves were on target early, helping the Gators build a lead. The back line played well, handling many of the Vikings’ power shots.

Xavier looked strong again in the first game against Hamilton, but in the second contest, a bit of fatigue appeared to settle in.

Bryant was impressed with the way that Shields distributed the ball. The coach also had praise for senior libero Alyna Draper and some of the big hits by senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner. Junior Ashley Yeung also stood out with her defense on the back line.

Xavier opens the regular season at home on Tuesday (Aug. 29) with a 6 p.m. contest against Mesa Mountain View. On Thursday (Aug. 31), the team travels to face Goodyear Millennium.

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