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, September 19, 2019

Chaparral knocks Gator v-ball off unbeaten pedestal

There is physical fatigue and mental fatigue, and both contributed to Xavier Prep’s 3-2 volleyball loss to visiting Scottsdale Chaparral on Wednesday night (Sept. 18), dropping the Gators from the unbeaten ranks at 13-1.

Scores for the match (Chaparral listed first): 25-22, 26-24, 25-27, 11-25, 15-8.

Xavier had played a five-set match against visiting Tempe Corona del Sol the night before, on Tuesday (Sept. 17) and defeated the Aztecs 3-2.

The Gators were back in the Activity Center against Chaparral and played very much like a tired team, especially in the first two games. The scores were close, but Chaparral (8-4) had the upper hand most of the way.

Xavier somehow avoided the sweep in the third game, and scored a surprisingly easy win in the fourth.

After a 3-3 tie early in the finale (15 points wins), Chaparral took control with four straight points and grabbed a 10-4 lead shortly thereafter. Once the Firebirds reached double digits, a setback appeared inevitable for the Gators.

“We put ourselves in a bad situation,’’ said Xavier coach Lamar-Renee Bryant.

She added that the downward spiral had just as much to do with the players’ mental state as the physical, if not more so.

“Some of our leaders decided to pick and choose when they would play, and you can’t have that. There is mental and physical fatigue, so we have to be demanding of ourselves and we didn’t do it.’’

The team was due to leave for Las Vegas after school on Thursday (Sept. 19) and will play in the annual Durango Classic at several high schools in that area. Xavier is the No. 8 overall seed and will play in Pool 8 on Court 2 at Las Vegas’ Coronado High.

Three other teams from southern California are in Xavier’s pool – Long Beach Poly, Rancho Cucamonga and St. Lucy’s Priory. Games will run from 1-6 p.m. on Friday (Sept. 20) with full bracket play on Saturday (Sept. 21).

As the Xavier bus winds its way toward Nevada, some of the players will nod off. Others might listen to music. Perhaps it would be a good opportunity to forget about the Chaparral match?

No way, said Bryant.

“We need to remember this,’’ she said. “It’s all about effort, and if we don’t change our effort, the same thing is going to happen.’’

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