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.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Title chances evaporate for singles, doubles

What began as a blue sky full of possibilities on Saturday (April 27) ended up in a pile of rubble for Xavier Prep tennis.

The Gators had participants in the Division I state singles and doubles competition in the quarterfinals and semifinals with the hopes of advancing to title matches on Monday night (April 29) at Arizona State’s Whiteman Tennis Center.

Senior Tristanne Dechoux, the No. 2 seed in singles, won her quarterfinal match against Chandler Hamilton’s seventh-seeded Shivika Agrawal, 6-0, 6-2, but hours later found herself on the wrong side of a 6-3, 6-7, 2-6 score in the semifinals against Scottsdale Desert Mountain’s third-seeded Savanna Kollock.

There is a good reason why Desert Mountain is the two-time defending state champion and the top seed in the team tournament – with players like Kollock and top-seeded teammate Josie Frazier, who will play for the singles title at ASU.

And the day almost ended before it began for Xavier’s third-seeded doubles team of junior Erica Stutz and freshman Ryan Kershner. They were battling Phoenix Pinnacle’s Elizabeth Vijan and Ava Kester and trailing 5-4 in the first set of their quarterfinal when Stutz developed a migraine headache and could not continue, giving the match to Pinnacle.

An unfortunate turn of events, indeed.

Dechoux looked strong in her first semifinal set, then things began to unravel. Dechoux was so upset about the loss in the second set that she had to take additional time to compose herself before starting the third set in temperatures that hovered in the mid-to-upper 90s. Kollock continued to apply the pressure and completed the task.

Team tennis – Xavier’s second-seeded team will host a quarterfinal match on Tuesday (April 30) against No. 7 Phoenix Horizon. Start time is 3 p.m.

The winner will advance to the semifinals on Friday (May 3) starting at noon at Scottsdale Ranch Park.

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