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, October 3, 2018

Gator volleyball ready for Gilbert tourney

Looks like Xavier Prep’s volleyball team is in a good spot entering the Gilbert Invitational tournament coming up this weekend.

The Gators are having two rare back-do-back days of rest (OK, practice) and are coming off their 20th win of the season, a three-game sweep of host Chandler High on Tuesday night (Oct. 2).

The scores were 25-13, 25-12 and 25-15.

“We now have two days of rest, which is big for us,’’ XCP coach Lamar-Renee Bryant said after the contest.

“We were able to establish our middles, which we haven’t really done in awhile, and we established our service line,’’ Bryant said.

And the Gators (20-5) appeared to play under control with more confidence.

“Emotionally, we were stable,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier scored seven straight points to forge ahead in Game 1. Another seven-point run offered the same outcome in Game 2. And the Gators polished off the Wolves (18-15) with five straight points late in Game 3.

Several Gators came up big in the stats department.

Senior Jennelle Yarwood had 11 kills and junior Jasmine Knight had 7 kills to go with her 7 blocks. Sophomore Serena Turner had 7 kills. Senior Hayley Nash had 3 service aces. Senior Ashley Yeung and sophomore Kaori Robinson had 12 and 11 digs, respectively. Senior setters Shannon Shields and Kate Spellman had 16 and 10 assists, respectively.

The Gilbert Invitational will feature a round-robin format and have eight teams, mainly East Valley except for Xavier and Phoenix Sunnyslope. Action begins at 9 a.m. on Friday (Oct. 5) and Saturday (Oct. 6).

The Gators will play four matches on Friday, against Chandler Basha, Sunnyslope, Tempe Corona del Sol and Chandler Hamilton.  Saturday’s opponents will be host Gilbert High, Phoenix Mountain Pointe and Gilbert Highland.

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