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, October 18, 2017

Volleyball bests Basha; Perry is next challenge

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team added another mark in the victory column on Tuesday night (Oct. 17) with a three-game sweep of visiting Chandler Basha at the Activity Center. Scores were 25-11, 25-13 and 25-22.

The Gators raised their overall record to 32-3, and as of Wednesday morning (Oct. 18) were the top-ranked team in the 6A Conference by the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

XCP now turns its attention to Gilbert Perry, which comes into the Activity Center on Wednesday night as the No. 5 team in 6A. When the two Premier Region rivals met on Sept. 13 at Perry, Xavier made one of the top comebacks of the season when it rallied from an 0-2 deficit for a 3-2 victory and knocked the Pumas from the unbeaten ranks in the process.

Perry has cooled off a bit since, falling in regular-season matches to Goodyear Millennium and Chandler Hamilton.

After Wednesday night’s match against Perry, Xavier will have two more regular-season matches – on Thursday night (Oct. 19) at home against Chandler High and Oct. 24 on the road against Hamilton.

Sophomore outside hitter Bri McKnight unloaded some big swings in the opener against Basha, including three kills in a row that helped fuel a 9-0 Xavier run after Basha had pulled to within four points.

Senior outside hitter Lanie Wagner led the way in the second game with strong play at the net, including three key kills down the stretch. Freshman Serena Turner finished off the Bears with a decisive kill.

The third game was much closer, but Xavier managed to prevail in the end. A kill by Wagner, a service ace by McKnight and an unforced Basha error sealed it. Senior middle blocker Alexis Diaz-Infante provided strong defense at the net.

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