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.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Lacrosse battles Pinnacle to finish, falls in OT

Although the final result didn’t turn out the way they wanted, Xavier Prep’s lacrosse players can take solace in their strong state tournament-type effort while battling the Arizona Girls Lacrosse Association’s No. 1 team, Phoenix Pinnacle, on Thursday night (March 14).

Xavier overcame a three-goal deficit for a one-goal lead at halftime, and after Pinnacle rallied for an 11-10 lead with 2:18 left in the match, the Gators sent the contest to overtime on a goal by senior Grace Martinez with just 19 seconds left.

In the three-minute, first-to-score overtime format, Pinnacle managed to keep its unbeaten record intact with a goal just 57 seconds in for a 12-11 victory. Karla Christensen scored on a rebound of a teammate’s shot that had been turned away by Gator goalkeeper Tanya Barakat.

Pinnacle is 6-0, Xavier 3-2. Xavier’s second loss also came in overtime, to Phoenix Desert Vista.

In a few of the games leading up to this one, Xavier coach Jen Nevatt was happy with victories but said some of the elements for success came intermittently. This match, the Gators were much more consistent.

“This was more like it,’’ she said.

“We had two amazing halves, the entire team did. In practice, we knew they were going to put the pressure on us and decided how we were going to handle it. We passed well, we shot well and we were very disciplined on defense.  That’s what their coach said afterward, that we were very disciplined. She was complimentary.’’

Indeed, the Pioneers knew they had been in a tough battle when they exchanged handshakes with the Gators afterward. The crowd, that included Brophy Prep students, was very vocal for the entire match.

As she has all season, senior Sarah Minton was on target with four goals, and Martinez had a hat trick with three. Junior Kit Blouin had a pair of goals and junior Nina Mackey and junior Caroline Andreen had one each.

Pinnacle leads the AGLA with 63 goals scored, but Xavier is right behind with 61, with one fewer match played.

Xavier plays again on March 22 at 7 p.m. against Cave Creek Cactus Shadows at the Horseshoe Trails Elementary School in north Phoenix. The game originally was to have been played on Feb. 22, but was postponed due to weather. The teams also played on March 11 at Xavier, with Xavier winning 12-6.

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