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, August 29, 2018

Volleyball opens season with sweep of Mtn. View

Xavier senior libero Ashley Yeung runs through a gauntlet of spirit line members as the volleyball team is announced before Tuesday night's opener against Mountain View (photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).
No doubt about it. Xavier Prep’s volleyball team looked like the defending state champion on Tuesday night (Aug. 28) when it opened its 2018 regular season with a three-game sweep of visiting Mesa Mountain View.

The Gators made very few mistakes with a dominating performance. Scores were 25-6, 25-8 and 25-12.

Who says Gators can't fly? Xavier sophomore Serena Turner (12) has a panoramic view of the Mountain View side of the court as the Gators move toward a sweep.
"We really looked sharp tonight,’’ said XCP coach Lamar-Renee Bryant. “We were able to play everyone and everyone contributed. We (coaches) are super proud of them and happy for them.’’

Xavier players, from left, Ashley Yeung, Shannon Shields, Jennelle Yarwood and Jasmine Knight watch the flight of the ball.
Junior Bri McKnight led the way for the Gators with 10 kills and three service aces.

Other numbers of note: senior Hayley Nash (9 kills), junior Jasmine Knight (4 kills), senior libero Ashley Yeung (8 digs), senior Jennelle Yarwood (3 aces) and senior setter Shannon Shields (15 assists).

The Gators have two more home matches next week against a couple of strong teams – Queen Creek on Sept. 4 and Phoenix Mountain Pointe (Ahwatukee) on Sept. 6.

A pair of Xavier Gators (in white) block an opponent's shot in a 25-6, 25-23 victory over Mountain View to open the season.

The freshman team was happy to earn a 25-22, 26-28, 15-8 win to open its season on a successful note.
Notes has named Shields as one of its top 250 senior recruits. Shields, who will be attending the University of Louisville, is listed at No. 61.

The publication calls Shields “a natural leader who is not afraid of any challenge.  She is a proven winner who has always played much older than her years.’’

Congrats to Shannon.

*Also, the site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s championship matches is moving from Gilbert Mesquite to Arizona State University’s Wells Fargo Arena. The semifinals will move from Mesquite to Gilbert Highland.

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