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.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Xavier beach v-ball tops tough Basha in opener

Chandler Basha established a formidable presence in the 6A Conference state indoor volleyball tournament, and that was illustrated by an amazing comeback from an 0-2 deficit against rival Gilbert Perry to win the championship.

One of the people who showed notice was Xavier Prep beach volleyball coach Tim McHale.

“They are a great volleyball school, and their beach program is only getting better. They are light years from where they started,’’ he said.

That was evident in Friday’s (Feb. 28) season opener for both schools at Xavier’s Cavanaugh Courts.

Xavier won the match 4-1, but the scores in the five dual matches were close and could have gone either way at various points.

Xavier staged comebacks by its No. 3 team of Tori Burton and Lexi Yoza and its No. 1 team of Serena Turner and Abby Converse. Burton and Yoza won their third set 15-13 and Turner and Converse lost their third set by the same score.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the 5-0 final score, but give kudos to them (Basha),’’ McHale said.

He was pleased by the way his players, both varsity and some of the more inexperienced players at the JV level, handled themselves in accomplishing duties to help the afternoon and the match go smoothly.

“We ran matches on all four of our courts (including exhibitions on courts 3 and 4 -- the main focus usually is on the first two) and the girls handled themselves well and were vocal in their support,’’ McHale said. “Those are the kinds of things you look for in your entire program. It should only continue to help us.’’

McHale liked what he saw of the No. 2 team of Analy Carbine and Katie Anthony, and the No. 3 team of Burton and Yoza. The latter player was a member of Xavier’s indoor team in the fall.

“Analy got her team’s engine going and Lexi battled like crazy throughout her match,’’ he said.

He was not disappointed in the effort of his two No. 1’s. Turner used her height (6 feet 1) and long wingspan to block numerous shots by the Bears.

As impressive as the match was for the Gators, McHale knows there are a number of issues to be ironed out by the time they play again next Friday (March 6) at home against Anthem Boulder Creek.

Xavier Prep 4, Basha 1

No. 1 pair – Basha def. Abby Converse and Serena Turner, 21-13, 16-21, 15-13. No. 2 – Analy Carbine and Katie Anthony def. Basha, 21-13, 21-13. No. 3 – Tori Burton and Lexi Yoza def. Basha, 18-21, 21-15, 15-13. No. 4 – Zaira and Alexa Shiner def. Basha, 21-16, 21-11. No. 5 – Summer McCann and Angela Valentine def. Basha, 21-10, 21-14.

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