Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Extra practices send Gator soccer to Calif. tourney

Xavier Prep soccer coach Barb Chura was looking forward to the holiday break to allow her team to get some valuable practice time after starting the season with a 4-1-1 record.

Now the Gators will get to put that to use when they participate in the 24-team Excalibur Tournament of Champions in Norco, Calif.

Just as valuable, Chura said, will be an opportunity for the girls to have some team bonding, which can help translate to success on the field.

Xavier, Arizona’s two-time defending 6A state champion, will open with a pair of matches on Thursday (Dec. 27).

The Gators will face Yorba Linda, Calif., at 4:45 p.m., Arizona time, on Thursday and play a second contest against Santa Margarita, Calif., at 8:45 p.m.

The event shifts to bracket play on Friday (Dec. 28). Xavier would play at either noon, Arizona time, 1:30 p.m, or 3 p.m. Bracket semifinals would be held later in the day, and finals would be staged on Saturday (Dec. 29) in three divisions – 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Xavier has four main goal-scorers (35 total goals). Three of them have six each – senior Lindsay Hubbard, junior Elizabeth Warren and freshman Keila Lopez Enriquez. Hubbard and Lopez Enriquez also have three assists, both with 15 points total. And freshman Olivia Castrichini has five goals.

The team also has 28 assists. Senior Caitlin Johnston has seven and sophomore Kendall Warner has five.

Sophomore goalkeeper Katie Harris has limited opponents to an average of 1.1 goals per game.

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