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

Gators' lacrosse record is a bit deceptive

 There are times when the best job done by a coach comes with a team that features a lot of young players and/or those learning to reach their top skill level.

Such might be the case of Xavier Prep’s club lacrosse team, led by co-head coaches Jen Nevatt and Diana Oduhlo and assistant Clay Zuba.

The team has just one senior, four juniors, six sophomores and seven freshmen.

When it comes to scoring, the Gators are no shrinking violets. They have won two of six games and have outscored opponents 66-60. The most recent game came on Wednesday night (March 31) when XCP fell 19-9 to the visiting Chandler Huskies at Petznick Field.

Xavier plays in Division 2 of the Arizona Girls Lacrosse Association. The division has eight teams and the stronger Division 1 has six. All of Xavier’s players are from XCP, but some of the opposing  teams such as the Chandler Huskies have a mix of players from an entire school district.

On defense, the Gators are trying to get into a good position to cut off the opponent’s path to the goal, and taking the ball away from said opponent before turning to go back down the field to make a scoring attempt of their own.

Guarding the goal is junior Ann Obiesie. She is improving as the season progresses, trying to see the ball better as it comes toward her. She has allowed some goals, yes, but on the flip side has made a number of quality stops.

Gators scoring goals against the Chandler Huskies were freshman McKenna Boyer, and sophomores Keilani Hong and Gigi Riviere (two each). Others putting the ball into the net were freshman Marlee McCloskey, freshman Kaitlyn Blain and sophomore Joan Walton.

Xavier’s next match is April 12 at Petznick against the Pinnacle White team.

Xavier player roster – 2021

Senior – Isabella Giannini.

Juniors – Hailey Seaman, Gabby Celtruda, Miah Berghoff, Ann Obiesie.

Sophomores – Keilani Hong, Gigi Riviere, Joan Walton, Mattie Cork, Peyton Bryant, Brooke Lehr.

Freshmen – Cece Goldberg, Marlee McCloskey, Ariana Chavez, Kaitlyn Blain, McKenna Boyer, Francesca Ricci, Payton Stewart.


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