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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Soccer win in home opener is worth the wait

 Xavier Prep was scheduled to play its first home soccer match on Jan. 19, but that was cancelled and the Gators had to wait until Monday night (Feb. 1), when Chandler High’s Wolves visited Petznick Field.

It was worth the wait.

Xavier took a 2-0 lead at halftime, then scored three goals within a span of 1:19 of the second half and went on to post a 6-0 victory, putting its record at 2-1.

Gators coach Barb Chura was pleased with the effort, their second win in a row by shutout. This one by senior Jaden Campbell followed one by senior Ella Eberhardt on Friday against Chandler Basha.

During the first half in particular, Xavier faced a Chandler defense that packed in closer to the goal and limited Xavier shot attempts, but that changed in the second half when Xavier spread the ball wider and lured the defense a bit farther away from the goal.

That showed when Xavier connected on its three goals within the 1:19 for a 5-0 advantage. The goals were scored by senior Ololade Adebayo and back-to-back shots by sophomore Eva Allen.

Xavier's Ololade Adebayo (blue) is surrounded by three Chandler players. Adebayo scored a goal in the 6-0 victory. (Photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

“We were able to go back in and finish,’’ Chura said.

Sophomore Bella Leonard and freshman Talia Coury scored the Gators first two goals in the first half. Senior Megan McGinty tallied Xavier’s final goal with 1:41 left in the match.

Assistant coach Rafael Rios gives us a peace sign or a V is for victory sign. Either way, it's all good.

Xavier will get a chance to fine-tune its game and make a few adjustments before it plays again on Feb. 8 at home against Chandler Hamilton, which is due to face Gilbert Perry this Friday (Feb. 5). Xavier fell to Perry 1-0 in the season opener on Jan. 26.

“Perry is good and so is Hamilton,’’ Chura said of XCP’s Premier Region rivals.

Xavier Gators celebrate the 6-0 win over Chandler.

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