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.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Sometimes, world of athletics can be ama-zing

 Zing went the string.

And it happened at the most inappropriate time, as Xavier Prep senior badminton player Jasmine Leyva was warming up for her singles match against Phoenix Desert Vista’s Aretta Lorenz  at Xavier’s Activity Center on Thursday (Sept. 16).

The shredded string on Leyva’s pink racket forced her to change plans out of necessity.

So she looked through a small group of possible replacements and picked one.

“I tried to go with one that was as close to my own as possible,’’ said Leyva, the Gators’ No. 2 singles player and No. 2 doubles player along with junior Riley Dowdall.

The weight was similar, said Leyva, who said she had the same thing happen to her once a long time ago.

“I still felt pretty good (about her chances),’’ Leyva said. “I studied her during warm-ups and figured out a weakness or two that I might be able to take advantage of.’’

Leyva won the first game 21-18 and had more breathing room in the second, winning 21-11. She and Dowdall could not find their rhythm in doubles, falling 21-11, 21-13.

Dowdall also had won her singles match, but the Gators could not build on that with a 7-2 loss to the Thunder. Xavier’s overall record is 5-5-1 entering its next match, on Thursday (Sept. 23) at home against Gilbert Perry.

“Jasmine didn’t let it (equipment malfunction) faze her,’’ said Xavier Coach Brian McNerney.

“It was definitely a tough day for the team. The girls played hard.’’

The coach inserted junior Lexi Garman into the lineup as the No. 6 singles player, and made her one of the No. 3 doubles players along with senior Caroline Cobb.

“Lexi was thrown into the fire and she did a good job.’’

Garman took Desert Vista’s Katelyn Larney to three sets, winning the middle game 21-19. Larney won the other two, 22-20 and 21-15.

“When you’re learning as you go along as our girls are, that’s pretty tough. But we (coaches) are really proud of them.’’

Desert Vista 7, Xavier Prep 2


Lekha Shrivastava, DV, def. Gigi Riviere, X, 21-14, 21-16; Jasmine Leyva, X, def. Aretta Lorenz, DV, 21-18, 21-11; Breanna Larney, DV, def. Sophia Bonilla, X, 21-6, 21-14; Riley Dowdall, X, def. Miranda Martinez, DV, 21-17, 20-22, 21-18; Ainsley Smith, DV, def. Caroline Cobb, X, 21-18, 21-16; Katelyn Larney, DV, def. Lexi Garman, X, 22-20, 19-21, 21-15.


B. Larney-Miranda, DV,def. Riviere-Bonilla, X, 21-12, 18-21, 21-12; Shrivastava-Aretta. DV, def. Leyva-Dowdall, X, 21-11, 21-13; Smith-K. Larney, DV, def. Garman-Cobb, X, 21-9, 21-12.

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