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.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Xavier 4th of 64 teams in Durango Classic

Do the math. When you finish fourth out of 64 teams in a tournament, you’re looking pretty good.

That was the story of Xavier Prep’s participation in the two-day Durango Classic for volleyball teams from across the nation on Friday (Sept. 14) and Saturday (Sept. 15) in Las Vegas.

The Gators won their first 10 sets of the tournament, lost a pair in the semifinals and took it to the 3-set limit in the third-place match before falling. Xavier lost to Redondo Union (Calif.) in the semis 25-22, 25-21 and Mater Dei of Santa Ana (Calif.) 25-18, 18-25 and 25-17 in the third-place match.

“Seven of the top 10 teams were nationally ranked and 19 of the top 100. The Gators were among elite company,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant, whose defending Arizona 6A state champions are now 10-2 this season.

Xavier had two players named to the All-Tournament Team – senior setter Shannon Shields and junior outside hitter Bri McKnight.

The Gators will be busy again this week. They will have two road matches on Tuesday (Sept. 18) and Thursday (Sept. 20) against Mesa Red Mountain and Surprise Valley Vista, respectively. And they will play in another tournament – the Nike Tournament of Champions – at various locations in Phoenix and the southeast Valley next Friday (Sept. 21) at Saturday (Sept. 22).

Xavier scores in the Durango Classic:

Pool play

XCP def. Beckman (Calif.) 25-8, 25-13. XCP def. La Costa (Calif.) 25-18, 25-19. XCP def. Centennial (Nev.) 25-14, 25-20.

Qualifying round

XCP def. Harvard-Westlake (Calif.) 25-19, 25-19.

Championship  bracket

XCP def. Cathedral Catholic (Calif.), 25-16, 25-20.


Redondo Union (Calif.) def. XCP, 25-22, 25-21.

Third place

Assumption (Ky.) def. XCP, 25-18, 18-25, 25-17.

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