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.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Beach volleyball moves on to state semis

Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball team played a Division I state tournament match for the second straight day on Wednesday (April 24), and the Gators emerged victorious in a quarterfinal pairing at XCP’s Cavanaugh Courts.

Top-seeded Xavier defeated ninth-seeded Buckeye Verrado 4-1 to advance to Tuesday’s (April 30) semifinal against fifth-seeded Goodyear Millennium at Queen Creek Casteel High (Power and Riggs roads). First serve is at 7 p.m.

Defending champion Gilbert Perry, the second seed, will square off against No. 3 Tempe Corona del Sol in the other semifinal, also at Casteel.

In the 2017 Division I title match, Xavier defeated Millennium to claim its sixth title in the history of the sport in Arizona before falling to Perry in the 2018 quarterfinals.

Against Verrado, Xavier (13-0) got two-set victories from its No. 5, No. 3, No. 2 and No. 1 teams, while its No. 4 duo fell in three sets.

The No. 5 team of Analy Carbine and Katie Anthony picked up a 21-8, 21-6 victory. The No. 4 team of Shea Sciarappo and Grace Lincoln won their first match, 21-17, but fell in the next two, 21-18 and 15-10.

The No. 3 pairing of Lydia Rush and Tori Burton won, 21-17 and 21-14. The No. 2 team of Abby Converse and Serena Turner won, 21-13 and 21-11, with Converse providing the exclamation point with a service ace to the back corner, just inside the line.

And the No. 1 team of Trinity Cavanaugh and Shannon Shields rolled to a 21-10, 21-11 triumph, with a kill by Shields between two opponents in the middle of the court securing the second set and the overall match.

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