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 21, 2020

Volleyball issues an SOS in last few weeks

 Xavier Prep’s volleyball team has four matches remaining in the regular season, including road matches against Phoenix Desert Vista on Wednesday night (Oct. 21) and Phoenix Sunnyslope on Thursday night (Oct. 22).

Gators coach Lamar-Renee Bryant would like to have her team finish as strong as possible, in order to get the best seed possible in the upcoming 6A Conference state tournament.

Where the team lands remains to be seen. Simply put, XCP has not been playing well of late, having been swept in its last two matches, including the one against visiting Gilbert Perry on Tuesday night (Oct. 20) on Senior Night.

Xavier Prep's three seniors and their parents, honored on Tuesday night. From left, Phoebe Lewis, middle, Kaori Robertson, and right, Zaira Reyes. (Photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

“From a mental standpoint especially, these next games could make a difference in how the rest of the season goes. We need to gain some confidence,’’ Bryant said.

Xavier slipped to 6-5 overall, while Perry remained unbeaten at 9-0. Perry has 3-0 sweeps in seven of its nine wins.

A classy addition to the ceremony: life-size signs in the Activity Center lobby.

The scores indicate that the Gators actually were more competitive in the first match against Perry (also a sweep) at Perry on Sept. 29. The margins of victory by the Pumas were by six, two and five points. In the latest meeting, Perry won by nine, nine and seven (25-16, 25-16, 25-18).

From the looks of things at the beginning of Tuesday’s first game, it appeared that Xavier might have a chance to steal a win. The Gators had an 11-6 lead, but the alarm clock went off for the Pumas and they ran off nine straight points.

Perry had a comfortable lead most of the way in the second game. Xavier attempted a late rally with a 6-1 run, but was in too big of a hole when the charge began and ran out of time.

Xavier was competitive for awhile in the third game, but another 9-0 run by Perry matched its effort in the first game and was never seriously challenged after that.



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