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.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Gators triumph, advance to beach title match

Nearly a month ago, on March 6, as darkness descended on Xavier Prep’s Cavanaugh Courts, Xavier and Gilbert Perry squared off in a state title-type beach volleyball match.

Xavier managed to pull out a 3-2 victory, but one couldn’t help but get the feeling that these two would meet again in the Division I state tournament.

That day, or in this case, night, will arrive on Thursday (May 2) when top-seeded Xavier and No. 2 Perry vie for the state championship at Casteel High in Queen Creek (east on Ivy Street off Power Road) at 7 p.m.

Xavier won the state title in the first six years of the sport in Arizona before Perry ended that streak last year in the quarterfinals and went on to win the whole thing.

Xavier is 14-0 after defeating No. 5 Goodyear Millennium 4-1 in Tuesday night’s (May 2) semifinals at Casteel, while Perry is 14-1 after stopping No. 3 Tempe Corona del Sol 3-2 in its semi.

The Gators secured the match with victories by its Nos. 5, 4 and 2 pairs. The No. 3 team fell before the No. 1 team of Trinity Cavanaugh and Shannon Shields took the spotlight in center sand and took Millennium to three sets before winning it in the third set, 18-16.

Xavier results

Division I semifinals

No. 5 – Analy Carbine-Katie Anthony def. Millenium, 21-9, 21-16. No. 4 – Shea Sciarappo-Grace Lincoln def. Millennium, 21-12, 21-8. No. 3 – Millennium def. Lydia Rush-Tori Burton, 26-24, 21-17. No. 2 – Abby Converse-Serena Turner def. Millennium, 21-15, 21-18. No. 1 – Trinity Cavanaugh-Shannon Shields def. Millennium, 23-25, 21-17, 18-16.


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