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, May 2, 2018

Strong Chaparral tennis team eliminates Gators

It is difficult for a tennis team to defeat a high-caliber opponent such as Scottsdale Chaparral twice in the same season.

Xavier Prep’s girls discovered that to be the case on Tuesday (May 1) in a Division I state quarterfinal match at XCP.

The Gators, who had defeated the Firebirds 5-4 in a match on March 7 at Xavier, encountered a Chaparral team near the top of its game and were eliminated 5-2.

Sixth-seeded Chaparral now goes on to meet No. 2 Chandler Hamilton in one semifinal match on Friday (May 4) at Scottsdale Ranch Park. The other semi will feature top-seeded defending champion Scottsdale Desert Mountain and No. 5 Mesa Mountain View.

Meanwhile, third-seeded Xavier finishes its season with a more-than-respectable 13-3 record.

Xavier’s singles lineup looked closer to the version that began the season, with junior Tristanne Dechoux returning to the top spot after missing at least a month with shoulder difficulties.

Dechoux looked good at times, but opponent Grace Koester’s power game was too much to overcome as Koester scored a 6-0, 6-1 win.

Sophomore Erica Stutz, who had been playing No. 1 in many of the late-season matches, was in the No. 2 slot this time against Gabi Moss. Stutz lost the first set 7-5, won the second 6-2 and dropped the third, 6-0.

Sophomore Kate Even, Stutz’s doubles partner, was No. 3 in the order and was defeated by the Firebirds’ Anya Ramras, 6-2, 6-3.

The highlight of the day for Xavier came in the No. 4 spot. Senior Maddy Corley played a wonderful match, perhaps her best of the season, and posted a 6-3, 6-1 win over Cassie Seminoff, who had defeated Corley earlier in the season.

Playing on a nearby court, sophomore Lorelei Glidden, continued to display good court sense and overall maturity with a 6-3, 6-1 triumph over Ana Ramsook.

The singles wrapped up with Chaparral’s Erin Hannen picking up a 6-1, 6-1 win over Gator junior Kate Stegman.

So Chaparral had a 4-2 lead after singles, creating a daunting task for Xavier. The Gators would have had to win all three doubles matches to take the match.

It didn’t happen as Koester and Ramras coasted to an 8-1 victory over Stutz and Even. Another match between the four was supposed to have been played in the individual state tournament semifinals over the weekend, but one of the Chaparral players fell ill to force a default.

Xavier looks to have another strong team for next season. The program has won 18 state championships, the last in 2015, and has several runner-up finishes.

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