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, October 2, 2019

Gator v-ball downs Mesa, faces top-ranked Perry

Xavier Prep’s volleyball team learned of its No. 3 spot in the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s first power points rankings in the 6A conference at mid-day on Tuesday (Oct. 1), and later in the day celebrated with a 3-0 sweep of Mesa High to raise its record to 21-3.

On Wednesday night (Oct. 2), the road will get much tougher when the Gators travel to face Gilbert Perry, the AIA’s No. 1 team.

Scores of the Mesa match were 25-16, 25-11 and 25-20.

Sophomore setter Alexa Shiner had one of her best all-around games of the season with 33 assists and six service aces.

Senior front-liners Bri McKnight and Jasmine Knight helped the offense make its big push with 13 and nine kills, respectively, and junior outside hitter Zaira Reyes had nine kills. Knight also was a force on defense with five blocks.

Xavier was due to play a home match on Thursday night (Oct. 3) against Chandler Basha, but that contest has been moved to Oct. 9 to allow both teams to prepare for this weekend’s big Nike Tournament of Champions, primarily in the southeast Valley.

Teams are seeded in pools for Friday’s (Oct. 4) play, and the Gators will play three matches at South Mountain Community College on south 24th Street. Other venues are the Kroc Center at 13th Street and Broadway in Phoenix, Chandler High School and the Spiral volleyball center on Priest Drive in south Chandler.

Bracket play leading up to the tournament championship will take place on Saturday (Oct. 5).

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