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, April 27, 2019

Xavier lacrosse loses grip, falls to Hamilton

Whether it’s sharpening their fingernails or perhaps something else, the Xavier Prep club lacrosse team needs to get a better grip to achieve more success.

The Gators put a lot of effort into a season that ended on Friday night’s (April 26) Senior Night at Petznick Field with an 8-7 loss to Chandler Hamilton in overtime. The team, which finished at 5-9, needs to find a way to win those close games.

Five of the Gators’ losses were by just one goal, and a sixth by two.

Against Hamilton, which they had defeated 9-7 in an earlier match on April 5, the Gators had a 7-5 lead in the second half, but saw that evaporate. Hamilton (7-7) forced the contest into overtime and won it with 55 seconds left in the first three-minute extra session.

“It has been the story of our season,’’ said Xavier coach Jen Nevatt. “We have had a lot of close games.

“We had a lot of talent with our underclassmen, and hopefully they will be able to keep their skills sharp going into next season. There are some club programs and some colleges that have clinics. We also will need to have mental and physical endurance.’’

She will be sorry to see the current group of seniors move on.

“They played with so much heart this year. They will be missed next year,’’ she said.

At the top of that list are Grace Martinez and Sarah Minton, who scored two goals apiece. Junior Caroline Andreen also scored twice and the other goal was by junior Nina Mackey.

With a win on Friday night, Xavier could have claimed the sixth and final playoff spot in the 10-team Arizona Girls Lacrosse Association, but Hamilton will get that instead. Scottsdale Chaparral and Phoenix Pinnacle are the top two seeds and earn first-round byes. Hamilton is expected to play No. 3 Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep in the first round and No. 5 Tempe Corona del Sol likely will face No. 4 Phoenix Desert Vista.

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