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 7, 2020

Volleyball lets potential match win slip away

 With two victories over Mesa Mountain View in their pocket, including a 15-point win in the second game of Tuesday night’s (Oct. 6) match, a third win should not have been much of a problem.

Except that the visiting Toros had other ideas.

They awoke from their slumber while Xavier could not get out of its own way.

Yes, believe it or not, Mountain View remained unbeaten by rallying in three straight games to take the non-region match 3-2. Mountain View is 6-0, Xavier 4-3.

Scores were (Mountain View listed first) 21-25, 10-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-8.

Xavier seemed to quit doing all the things that allowed it to build its 2-0 advantage. Passive, to say the least.

“Cutting corners,’’ is what Gators coach Lamar-Renee Bryant called it.

“When you’re playing against yourselves as well as your opponent, that makes it difficult to win.’’

Bryant also has concerns about a lack of leadership.

“We need to have somebody step up,’’ she said.

Xavier had a 22-19 lead in the third game but was shut out the rest of the way.

The unraveling had begun, and there was no way to stop it.

Mountain View had a comfortable lead in the fourth game and Xavier ended whatever hopes it had for a comeback with a net serve and trailing by four points.

In the decisive fifth game, Xavier held an early 4-3 lead, only to have the Toros run off eight straight points.

When a Xavier serve sailed wide and the comeback was complete, Mountain View players rushed from the bench to join their teammates on the court to celebrate.

So where do the Gators go from here?

To Peoria on Thursday (Oct. 8), when they face Liberty. From there, it will be a day-to-day proposition.

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