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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Quick start puts Gator v-ball on triumphant path

 In the first set of their 3-set match against visiting Chandler Basha on Tuesday night (Sept. 21), Xavier Prep’s Gators got off to a quick 12-0 start.

There was not much need to look in the rear-view mirror after that, as the Gators went on to post a 3-set sweep at the Activity Center, 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Basha recovered somewhat in the second set and even led midway through. Xavier, however, got four kills from senior Tiffany Tellez to stay close or move back in front. Tellez finished with 14 kills and 14 digs.

The Bears tried to dig themselves out of a hole, and were close in the early stages of the third set. But a block by the Gators allowed them to re-take the lead, and they began to pull away.

Senior Emma Soderstrom also had a strong game with 11 kills and 16 digs. Senior setter Alexa Shiner had 34 assists and freshman libero Olivia Lenz had 14 digs. Senior middle blocker Bella Sinacori had 3 blocks and senior Hannah Ulisch had a pair of service aces.

Xavier and Basha will have a rematch at Basha on Oct. 13.

It will be part of a tough stretch against Premier Region opponents, with home-and-home series on the schedule.

Xavier’s next match will be Thursday (Sept. 23) at Premier foe Chandler High.

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