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.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Xavier Prep soccer really likes those 2-0 scores

If you’re a fan of Xavier Prep soccer, you’ve just got to like those 2-0 scores.

Although there were nearly 10 months in between, Xavier posted back-to-back 2-0 victories.

First was the 6A Conference championship match against Phoenix Desert Vista on Feb. 11, and Xavier triumphed 2-0.

Then on Monday night (Dec. 4), the Gators began the 2017-18 season with a 2-0 victory over visiting Gilbert High at Petznick Field.

Abby Hubbard scored both Xavier goals in the first half, with fellow senior Mady Chait providing the assists. From there, it was up to the defense to keep the Tigers away from the net.

“We were happy with the game, the outcome, especially since we have a bunch of new people,’’ said Xavier coach Barb Chura.

“The first half was kind of slow, but we started to play better toward the end of the first half. We got two good goals, but we left too many other goals on the table. We didn’t finish plays like we could have, shooting the ball high or wide. And when you don’t finish, you usually allow your opponent to stay in the game. We know this was our first game and it leaves a lot for us to work on.’’

Chura applauded Hubbard and Chait for their efforts and the leadership they showed. Also receiving praise were senior defender Nicole Hook and sophomore defender Jocelyn Rupp.

Hook also helped work the ball on the offensive side, but on defense, Chura said, “she is so good. Jocelyn played next to her (Hook is in the middle) . They are playing with confidence.’’

Senior Kinsey Ehmann had a good game in goal.

Among the younger players, one who had a promising effort was freshman Ololade Adebayo, a midfielder who showed good quickness and agility in trying to keep the middle of the field clean and passing the ball to the forwards.

Chura said Adebayo’s experience is limited, but says she thinks Adebayo could develop into a well-rounded player.

Xavier will play on the road for the first time on Wednesday (Dec. 6) at Phoenix Horizon. The Gators return home on Thursday (Dec. 7) with a contest against Phoenix Trevor Browne. Both have 6 p.m. starts.

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