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.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Xavier beach brigade edges Corona del Sol

When Xavier Prep and Tempe Corona del Sol get together on a beach volleyball court, it usually seems like a playoff match.

Friday’s (March 1) contest was no different, as Xavier outlasted the Aztecs 3-2 at the Cavanaugh Family Courts.

Xavier (2-0) was keyed by three-set wins by the Nos. 4 (senior Shea Sciarappo and sophomore Zaira Reyes) and 5 (junior Grace Lincoln and freshman Katie Anthony) duos and an outstanding effort from the No. 2 pair, junior Abby Converse and sophomore Serena Turner.

The two-set win by Converse and Turner gave Xavier the point that would prove to be the difference. Corona del Sol’s wins went to its Nos. 1 and 3 teams.

“It was a typical Xavier-Corona match,’’ said Xavier coach Tim McHale. “Before the match, I told Ben (Maxfield, Corona coach) that it would be a tight one because it always is.

“Someone usually steps up. You don’t exactly know who or when that’s going to be.

“Corona is a good team and we were able to pick up some big power points (the eventual determining factor in state seeding).’’

Xavier’s No. 4 and 5 teams won their first set, but lost the second to set up the third and decisive set.

Sciarappo and Reyes won their third 15-9, and Lincoln and Anthony won their third 15-12.

“They kept battling and believing,’’ McHale said. “At No. 5, the older player did a good job of settling down the freshman.’’

McHale didn’t get a chance to see much of the No. 2 match because he was stationed at one of the other courts, but said Converse gave him a full report on a dominant effort by Turner, who is an indoor volleyball teammate for the Gators.

“She (Converse) said Serena was everywhere. That’s just a sign of her maturity,’’ McHale said.

The 6-foot-1 Turner had some killer kills.

Next for the Gators comes one of their toughest tests of the season, a match at Cavanaugh against defending state champion Gilbert Perry on Wednesday (March 6) at 4 p.m.

It was Perry that ended Xavier’s reign of state titles last season. After winning the trophy in the first six years of the sport, the Gators fell to Perry in the quarterfinals and Perry went on to claim the crown.

“Perry is big and physical. We’re going to have to be ready,’’ McHale said.

Xavier Prep 3, Corona del Sol 2

No. 1 – CDS def. Trinity Cavanaugh-Shannon Shields, X, 21-18, 21-13. No. 2 – Abby Converse-Serena Turner, X, def. CDS, 21-11, 21-15. No. 3 – CDS def. Tori Burton-Lydia Rush, X, 16-21, 21-15, 15-10. No. 4 – Shea Sciarappo-Zaira Reyes, X, def. CDS, 21-15, 19-21, 15-9. No. 5 – Katie Anthony-Grace Lincoln, X, def. CDS, 21-12, 15-21, 15-12.

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