Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Xavier has strong showing in Excalibur soccer tourney

Xavier Prep’s soccer team begins 2018 following a strong effort in the prestigious Excalibur Invitational tournament in Norco, Calif.

The Gators split four games in the tournament. They defeated Canyon High of Anaheim 3-1, Heritage (Calif.) 3-2 and had two oh-so-close 1-0 losses to Los Osos (Calif.) and San Clemente (Calif.).  Xavier finished seventh out of 24 teams while Los Osos won its bracket and San Clemente finished fifth.

“It was great competition,’’ said Gators coach Barb Chura.

Xavier (7-2) actually scored first against San Clemente but the goal was negated.

“The ball was in the goal but the goalkeeper scooped it out and the referee decided the goal did not count even though it was in. We would have gone ahead,’’ said Chura.

“To know we could have won all four games is something to build off of.’’

In the opener against Canyon on Wednesday (Dec. 27), Kyla Ferry accounted for all of XCP’s scoring with a three-goal hat trick. The Gators had a number of chances to score in their game against Los Osos, but couldn’t quite get the ball in the net.

In the game against Heritage on Thursday (Dec. 28), the Gators rallied from a 2-0 deficit. Goals by Abby Hubbard and Brynn Lebel helped Xavier get even.

A great play pushed the Gators over the top. Mady Chait took a throw-in and Ferry headed the ball over to Lebel, who was closer to the goal, and she finished off the play.

Ferry and defensive anchor Nicole Hook were named to the All-Tournament Team.

“There were only 11 players named out of 500 players on 24 teams, so this is a huge honor for both of our players,’’ Chura said. “We are very proud of them.’’

The Gators now are back home but will begin the 2018 part of their schedule with another lengthy road trip, this time to face Yuma Kofa on Friday (Jan. 5). The contest will begin at 5 p.m.

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