Bio

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 AIA365.com, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Injuries add concern to young XCP tennis team

 The Division I state tennis tournament will be here before you know it, but Xavier Prep already has played a state-type schedule this week with mixed results.

The Gators lost to second-ranked Chandler Hamilton, defeated No. 10 Phoenix Pinnacle but were dominated by top-ranked Scottsdale Desert Mountain at Xavier, 9-0 on Thursday (April 15).

Xavier will play two more matches at home next week to wrap up the regular season before the state team tournament begins on April 27.

That means Xavier Coach Laurie Martin will be burning the midnight oil trying to figure out which players give her team the best chance for success. And it will not be easy, given the fact that the roster is loaded with underclassmen, including at least four freshmen in the lineup, and of late has been affected by injuries. Some injured players might return, others likely will not.

“This is the most of this type of thing that I have ever had, but what are you going to do?’’ she said. “You have to get out your glue gun and try to piece everything together.

“We have been pushed and been challenged and that’s fantastic. It’s a great experience for the girls, although we have had to shift some of them up several positions (against tougher competition).’’

One of the injured players is No. 1 Ryan Kershner. She started slow at the beginning of the season, played some doubles recently before being nagged again and is hopeful to return by tournament time.

That has allowed freshman Dani Dyer to develop her game as the No. 1 singles player most of the time, as well as become a solid doubles player.

Dyer lost against Hamilton on Tuesday, won at Pinnacle and then encountered Desert Mountain junior Savanna Kollock, the Wolves’ top player who was state runner-up as a freshman in 2019 before the Covid virus forced cancellation of last year’s tournament.

Kollock is left-handed and the ball often comes at an opponent with a different angle and different spin. She also is tall with long arms, and the length of her reach also is a big asset.

Dyer had some good shots on Thursday but not enough of them as Kollock prevailed.

“They (Desert Mountain) are a very good team, showing all different types of shots and spins,’’ Martin said. “As our players continue to grow, we hope to be able to play like that when we go out. It will happen all in good time.’’

The Gators’ last two regular-season matches will be on Monday (April 19) against Chandler High and Tuesday (April 20) against Gilbert Perry.

Thursday’s results

Desert Mountain 9, Xavier Prep 0

Singles

No. 1 – Savanna Kollock, DM, def. Danielle Dyer, X, 6-1, 6-1.

No. 2 – Julia Frazier, DM, def. Victoria Chrostowski, X, 6-0, 6-1.

No. 3 – Olivia Kim, DM, def. Megan Wheeling, X, 6-0, 6-0.

No. 4 – Ava Koenig, DM, def. Belani Soto, X, 7-6, 2-6, 10-4.

No. 5 – Analise Wachtel, DM, def. Kristina Stender, X, 6-3, 6-0.

No. 6 – Catherine Palmer, DM, def. Lily Gabler, X, 6-2, 6-3.

Doubles

No. 1 – Frazier-Kim, DM, def. Soto-Dyer, X, 8-4.

No. 2 – Kollock-Koenig, DM, def. Victoria Chrostowski-Emilia Chrostowski, X, 8-2.

No. 3 – Wachtel-Palmer, DM, def. Wheeling-Stender, X, 9-8.


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