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.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Leonard''s winning goal catches ESPN's eye

 Xavier Prep has a TV star in its midst.

 Video from sophomore Bella Leonard’s game-winning goal at the end of Wednesday’s (March 17) overtime victory over Gilbert Perry in the 6A state soccer semifinals went national, thanks to ESPN.

Leonard’s goal, which lofted over the Perry goalkeeper from about 30 yards out and grazed the bottom of the crossbar before hitting the back of the net, was the No. 2 video out of the top 10 of the day presented by the sports network.

The 1-0 win advanced Xavier to the championship match against Scottsdale Chaparral, and Xavier took a 2-0 victory over the Firebirds to win the title.

Leonard faced a scary moment in the title match when she was struck in the head by a Chaparral kick with about 36 minutes left in regulation. She was down on the ground for a few moments before being escorted to the bench by Xavier Head Athletic Trainer Laurie White.

The two sat together on the bench before White cleared Leonard through a concussion protocol and Leonard returned to the game about 15 minutes later.

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