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.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Beach players strive to improve, and it shows

 Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball players are not improving in leaps and bounds but in manageable increments, and that is just fine with coach Tim McHale.

“it’s not just skill-wise where we’re improving, but it’s the pairings over the first three , matches, having them try new things here and there and being able to communicate,’’ he said.

On Wednesday (March 31), the Gators went home with their third win in as many matches, 5-0 over visiting Queen Creek Casteel, using all of the elements at their disposal.

“This was a good test for us,’’ McHale said. “They (Casteel) are a young team, but they are a little better than other teams we will face.’’

One individual who stood out for the Gators was junior Landree Coats, who is part of the No. 2 doubles team along with junior Lexi Yoza.

Coats moved well all over the sand and usually seemed to be in the right place at the right time. She served well and communicated well with Yoza.

McHale also noticed.

“Landree has had the most discernible improvement in a year’s time,’’ he said. “She has put in the work.’’

Xavier will go to Casteel’s home courts on Thursday (April 1), but not to play Casteel again. The school is a member of the Chandler district and most of the district schools play beach at Casteel. So the Gators’ opponent will be Gilbert Perry.


Xavier Prep 5, Queen Creek Casteel 0

No. 1 pairing – Serena Turner-Summer McCann, X, def. C, 21-15, 21-14.

No. 2 pairing – Lexi Yoza-Landree Coats, X, def. C, 21-9, 21-18.

No. 3 pairing – Zaira Reyes-Katie Anthony, X, def. C, 21-8, 21-8.

No. 4 pairing – Tiffany Tellez-Alexa Shiner, X, def. C, 21-11, 21-11.

No. 5 pairing – Trinity Tran-Mei Tsou, X, def. C, 21-14, 21-16.

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