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, March 31, 2022

Quicksand swallows up Gator beach volleyball

 The beach volleyball team from Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor let Xavier Prep’s Gators know in no uncertain terms on Wednesday (March 30) that it has only one thing in mind – winning the Division I state championship.

The Eagles almost did it a year ago before falling to XCP in the title match 4-1.

Then the two powerhouses renewed their rivalry at the Victory Lane Sports Complex in Glendale, and O’Connor dominated with a 5-0 victory. Xavier had lost less than five matches during its run of eight titles in nine attempts.

O’Connor gained a lot of experience last season, learning how to operate in such a high-profile environment, and that knowledge now is paying off.

Xavier has two more matches left in the regular season, on April 6 against Chandler Basha and April 12 against Chandler High. Both will be played at the Chandler district courts at Casteel High in Queen Creek.

Wednesday’s rssults

Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor 5, Xavier Prep 0

@ Victory Lane Complex, Glendale

No. 1 pairs – Margo Smith-Sydnee Broadway, SDO, def. Landree Coats-Summer McCann, X, 21-14, 21-13.

No. 2 – Tristin Smith-Sophie Myers, SDO, def. Trinity Tran-Katie Anthony, X, 21-19, 21-19.

No. 3 – Ashlyn Rough-Liana Huesca, SDO, def. Noelle Peterson-Mei Tsou, X, 21-9, 19-21, 15-11.

No. 4 – Sarah Lewis-Emma Soncrant-SDO, def. Alexa Shiner-Tiffany Tellez, X, 23-21, 21-17.

No. 5 – Piper Rama-Olivia Le Blanc, SDO, def. Lauren Vanderwey-Maddie MacDonald, X, 21-9, 21-14.


Fourth shutout in a row boosts Xavier tennis

 Xavier Prep’s tennis team picked up its fourth straight shutout and raised its overall record to 11-1 with a 9-0 victory over visiting Phoenix Pinnacle at the Stark Tennis Center.

Senior Ryan Kershner led the way with a 6-0, 6-0 shutout in the No. 1 singles match, and teamed with sophomore Danielle Dyer for an 8-0 win in doubles.

Xavier will participate in the Tiger Quad tournament on Saturday (April 2) at Goodyear Millennium.

Wednesday’s results

Xavier Prep 9, Phoenix Pinnacle 0

@ Xavier Prep


Ryan Kershner, X, def. Liv Lubenow, P, 6-0, 6-0; Sophia Kleingartner, X, def. Alexa Agins, P, 6-1, 6-0; Julia Chrostowski, X, def. Emma Kesic, P, 7-5, 6-1; Megan Wheeling, X, def. Lauren Weiler, P, 6-1, 6-1; Belani Soto, X, def. Arden Blackstone, P, 6-0, 6-0; Lily Gabler, X, def. Avery Furnish, P, 6-0, 6-0.


Kershner-Danielle Dyer, X, def. Kesic-Lubenow, 8-0; Soto-Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. Weiler-Blackstone, P, 8-0; Wheeling-Kristina Stender, X, def. Furnish-Agins, P, 8-2.

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Rejuvenated bats push XCP past Perry

Xavier Prep's softball players talk strategy. (Photos by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

Now that was more like it.

After a pair of gut-wrenching losses, Xavier Prep’s softball team put itself back on track in a big way on Tuesday (March 29), scoring a 13-3 victory over visiting Gilbert Perry in a game that was shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.

Amazingly, it was only the second loss of the season for Perry (17-2), while Xavier moved itself up to 11-4.

The Gators watch teammate Lauren Putz cross the plate on one of her two home runs.

The Gators play again at Petznick Field on Friday (April 1) with a game against Mesa Red Mountain. It will be a rematch of last year’s 6A state championship game won by Xavier. First pitch is at 3:45 p.m.

Xavier brought out the big bats against Perry. The Gators ripped three home runs, two by sophomore infielder Lauren Putz and one by senior shortstop Bridget Donahey.

Donahey had four RBIs for the game, Putz three.

Xavier senior ace Riley Flynn fires a pitch to a Perry hitter.

Senior pitcher Riley Flynn got credit for the victory, giving up three runs on four hits, two of them home runs. She also struck out six and did not walk a batter.

Gator tennis blanks Basha for 10th win

 It’s double figures time, in terms of Xavier Prep’s overall tennis record.

The Gators won their 10th match of the season against only one loss on Tuesday (March 29), looking strong across the board against host Chandler Basha, 9-0.

XCP is back in action on Wednesday (March 30) against Phoenix Pinnacle at the Stark Tennis Center. Start time is 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday’s tennis result

Xavier Prep 9, Chandler Basha 0

@ Chandler Basha


Ryan Kershner, X, def. Juliana Clayton, B, 6-0, 6-0; Danielle Dyer, X, def. Micaela Anchondo, B, 6-0, 6-0; Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. Avounay Rossi, B, 6-0, 6-2; Megan Wheeling, X, def. Isabella Gant, B, 6-2, 6-3; Belanie Soto, X, def. Amelia Cunningham, B, 6-1, 6-1; Lara Shennib, X, def. Alexis Lu, B, 6-0, 6-1.


Dyer-Kershner, X, def. Rossi-Clayton, B, 8-0; Soto-V. Chrostowski, X, def. Cunningham-Anchondo, B, 8-2; Wheeling-Kristina Stender, X, def. Lu-Gant, 8-2.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Soderstrom twins double the fun in Xavier athletics

Fraternal twins Elena and Emma Soderstrom spent their first 36 weeks or so as next-door neighbors in their mother’s womb. Then it was time for their coming-out birthday party.

But they didn’t arrive at the same time. They were about an hour apart. Emma, the first-born, came by way of natural childbirth. Elena was by cesarian section.

The story, as Elena tells it, was that Emma sustained a black eye.

“I guess you could say that I kicked her out so I would have a little more time and a little more room to relax, where it was warm,’’ Elena said.

The 18 years since have gone like a blur, and the sisters are almost ready to graduate from Xavier Prep in May. In their early years they attended Sonoran Trails Middle School in north Phoenix, and when they were looking for a high school, a client of their father, Mark, a veterinary surgeon, suggested XCP.

Volleyball's Emma Soderstrom, left, and track and field's Elena Soderstrom, right (Photo by Don Ketchum).

The two began to excel in the classroom and in athletics. Elena played volleyball as a freshman, then moved over to track and field as her permanent focus the rest of her career as a Gator, concentrating on the shot put, discus and javelin. Mark Soderstrom, a former decathlete in college, has helped her along the way as a coach.

“Each week, I have tried to work on a different aspect to fix every day in practice. That’s the best way for you to improve,’’ Elena said.

She has shown quite a bit of improvement this spring and has a chance to score some points for the Gators at the Division I state meet on May 7, 11 and 14.

Emma tried cross country as a middle-schooler, but has been a volleyball player from the get-go at Xavier. She rose to the level of an All-State Honorable Mention last fall after helping XCP build a 24-11 record. This spring, she has added beach volleyball to her resume while logging some time as part of the No. 5 pair and as a reserve.

Dates for the Division I state team tournament are April 18, 20, 25 and 27. Xavier has won eight of the first nine titles that have been held.

“I figure that it’s my senior year, so hey, why not?’’ Emma said of beach volleyball.

“I enjoy playing it quite a bit. Indoor and beach have a few differences. With indoor, you usually play front or back, but in beach, you have to play all over the court because it’s just you and your teammate.’’

Emma also likes to provide support for her teammates as a free-spirited “cheerleader’’ on occasion.

In their early days, the girls, along with their older sister, Erika, who attended Cave Creek Cactus Shadows, lived on a small “farm’’ were animals were plentiful. There were sheep, goats, chickens and a few dogs, including Jack and Jill. The family enjoyed having them around. Jill has only three legs but Jack unfortunately passed away.

Both Emma and Elena agree for the most part on which TV shows and movies to watch. Their tastes in food are similar but not quite exact. Emma enjoys the cooking part of it. Some of their friends are the same, others different. Depending on their spring schedules, they might end up driving separately.

They support each other’s athletics pursuits. Elena attends the indoor volleyball matches and Emma tries to make it to track and field invitational meets, usually on weekends. The girls also have a step-sister and a step-brother and Emma says the brother, age 5, is a favorite of the girls on the Xavier Spirit Line.

Neither is likely to play sports in college, preferring to focus on academics. But if they put the same amount of effort into their studies as they did at Xavier, they should do all right.

Elena likely will attend the University of Arizona in Tucson and will study psychology. “I’ve always been interested in what people are thinking,’’ she said.

Emma, who according to Elena is more outgoing, has not decided on a college yet but is leaning toward political science. That could lead to law school or working on political campaigns.

Emma said attending Xavier “has been a special time for us. The community has been behind us  through the hard times and the good times.’’

“We have put some pressure on ourselves to do well in both sports and school. Our family knows what that can mean. They are very supportive and we know we are not alone,’’ Elena said.

That, of course, also is because the girls know they can rely on each other.


Beach humbles Hamilton, meets O'Connor this week

 Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball team played its final home match of the regular season, running its record to 8-0 with a 5-0 victory over Chandler Hamilton at the Cavanaugh Courts.

All five of the Gator pairs won with 2-0 sweeps.

Xavier plays the first of its final three regular-season matches on Wednesday (March 30) with a contest against Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor at the Victory Lane Sports Complex in Glendale, 43rd Ave. and Pinnacle Peak Road. Start time is 4 p.m.

It will be a rematch of last season’s title match won by Xavier, 4-1.

Xavier Prep 5, Chandler Hamilton 0

Monday, @ Xavier Prep

No. 1 pair – Summer McCann-Landree Coats, X, def. Camille Desalvo-Skye Lower, H, 21-12, 21-19.

No. 2 – Trinity Tran-Katie Anthony, X, def. Dakota Gulick-Kayla Lee, H, 21-17, 21-15.

No. 3 – Mei Tsou-Noelle Peterson, X, def. Lauren Mullings-Mckenna Hoefer, H, 21-14, 21-11.

No. 4 – Alexa Shiner-Tiffany Tellez, X, def. Michelle Hu-Jordan Jones, H, 21-17, 21-14.

No. 5 – Emma Soderstrom-Angela Valentine, X, def. Moorea Neimeier-Henriette Haase, H, 21-15, 21-11.

Xavier lacrosse has "20-20 vision' against Tucson teams

Xavier Prep’s club lacrosse team erupted for a combined 40 goals against Tucson Salpointe Catholic on Saturday (March 26) in Tucson and against Oro Valley on Monday night (March 28) at XCP’s Petznick Field.


In the 20-4 win over Salpointe, Keilani Hong had seven goals and an assist. Gigi Riviere had four goals and two assists. McKenna Boyer had three goals. Marlee McCloskey and Ashley Mansour had two goals each. And Gabby Celtruda and Joan Walton each had one goal.


The 20-6 win over Oro Valley brought Xavier’s overall record to 4-5.


McCloskey had five goals. Boyer and Hong had four each, Riviere had three, Walton had two and Celtruda had one. Hong also had three assists and Riviere had two.


Also, for a portion of the second match, the Xavier coaches inserted Kiana Beazley, a sophomore who plays as a goalkeeper on the JV team, in the lineup to get some experience at the varsity level. She showed promise for future seasons.


Xavier returns to action at Petznick on Thursday (March 31) against Scottsdale Chaparral’s Division 2 team. First draw is at 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Track & field athletes show pride, strength

 It was a busy weekend for the track and field athletes from Xavier Prep, who competed in two meets, the Red Mountain Rampage at Mesa Red Mountain on Friday (March 25) and the annual Chandler Rotary Invitational on Saturday (March 26) at Chandler High.

The Gators will split time between two meets on Friday (April 1), the Ron Smith Classic at Phoenix Shadow Mountain and the Becky Matthews Invitational for freshmen and sophomores at Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee.

Nike Chandler Rotary Invitational

Saturday (March 26) @ Chandler High

Xavier Prep results

4x400-meter relay – XCP “A” 4th, 4:01.59.

Long jump – Cierra Gonzalez, 6th, 17-00.

Pole vault – Avery Allen, 3rd, 11-09.

100-meter dash – Marley Stoller, 20th, 13.08.

100-meter hurdles – Mackenzie Lopez, 4th, 16.63; Ellie Higgins, 33rd, 19.23.

400-meter dash – Bella Gomez, 5th, 59.86; Mia Stoller, 10th, 1:00.77.

800-meter run – Tatum Goforth, 14th, 2:22.30.

1,600-meter run – Catherine Alaimo, 16th, 5:32.46; Kylie Graf, 24th, 5:40.34; Reese Brown, 35th, 5:32.98.

4x800-meter relay – XCP “a’’ 10th, 10:26.02.

High jump – Cierra Gonzalez, 5th, 5-00; Ellie Higgins, 11th, 4-08.

Javelin – Elena Soderstrom, 40th, 76-11; Ellie Higgins, 42nd, 76-05.

Discus – Elena Soderstrom, 26th, 86-02.

Mile run – Reese Brown, 36th, 5:45.34.

Red Mountain Rampage

Friday (March 25), @ Mesa Red Mountain

Xavier Prep results

100-meter dash – Madigan Moran, Jr., 7th, 13.09; Maya Ofori, So., 10th, 13.11.

400-meter dash – Julianne Veloria, Jr., 4th, 1:01.08.

Elite 1,600-meter run – Maggie Mostoller, Fr., 12th, 5:54.58.

Seeded 1,600-meter run – Macarthy Mahoney, Sr., 1st, 5:48.06; Alma Melendez, Jr., 9th, 6:01.48; Emily Manuelito, Jr., 17th, 6:18.40; Olivia Charles, Jr., 24th, 6:28.75.

Seeded 3,200-meter run – Sophia Maroufkani, So., 9th, 4:36.16; Adelaide Luna, So., 15th, 15:47.29.

Elite 300-meter hurdles finals – Kaira Burrage, So., 9th, 50.04.

Elite 4x800-meter relay – XCP 10th, 11:26.88.

Seeded high jump – Illiana Kockinis, So., 7th, 4-06; Sofia Asher, Sr., 19th, 4-00.

Elite long jump – Ellie Higgins, Sr., 15th, 15-03 ½; Riley Ward, Jr., 16th, 14-11 ½.

Seeded long jump – Gabriella Isaac, Fr., 1st, 16-07 ½; Vivian Amoia, Fr., 4th, 15-05 ½; Annette Gbekia, So., 22nd, 14-02.

Seeded triple jump – Sofia Asher, Sr., 7th, 30-11.

Seeded discus – Aymara Ubom, So., 14th, 68-05; Callie Ehmann, Jr., 25th, 59-07; Emily Alaimo, So., 42nd, 50-04.

Elite javelin – Callie Ehmann, Jr., 16th, 67-02.

Seeded javelin – Riley Ward, Jr., 1st, 89-7; Illiana Kockinis, So., 28th, 54-03; Sofia Asher, Sr., 39th, 45-02.

Elite shot put – Ellie Higgins, Sr., 17th, 25-10  ½.

Seeded shot put – Ellie Higgins, Sr., 4th, 27-01; Callie Ehmann, Jr., 23rd, 23-07; Lis Montoya, So., 28th, 22-07; Aymara Ubom, So., 36th, 21-4 ½.

Gator players dig toes in the sand at tourney

 Several of Xavier Prep’s pairs competed on Saturday (March 26) in the CatBox Classic Beach Invitational in the Tucson community of Oro Valley, at Ironwood Ridge and Canyon del Oro high schools.

The event featured 64 pairs from 13 of the state’s top programs.

Emma Soderstrom and Angela Valentine reached the championship match of the Open Division Club but came up just short in a highly competitive match against Phoenix Desert Vista’s Faith Brown and Reilly Feller, 22-20.

Dina Gorman and Abby Gliss were the XCP duo in the Club Pool G, where they fell to Brown and Feller, 23-21.

In Round 2 of the Club Gold Bracket, Soderstrom and Valentine defeated Austin and Decker from Marana Mountain View 21-13 and polished off Porter and Theisler of Chandler Basha 21-17.

XCP’s Katie Anthony and Mei Tsou were 2-1 in Open Pool AA, while Mei Tsou and Noelle Peterson were 1-2 in Open Pool BB. Tiffany Tellez and Alexa Shiner were 3-0 in Pool CC.

Xavier is back in action at its Cavanaugh Courts home on Monday (March 28) against Chandler Hamilton.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Softball takes it to the limit but falls again

 Friday’s (March 25) 1-0 softball loss to Phoenix Desert Vista in Ahwatukee was a tough one to take for Xavier Prep’s Gators, perhaps even tougher than the 10-0, 5-inning setback to Chandler Basha on Tuesday (March 22).

Against Desert Vista, Xavier (10-4) was in it all the way until the bottom of the seventh inning.

Xavier senior Riley Flynn and Desert Vista junior Jocelyn Briski were locked in one of those pitching duels that is pure scrapbook material.

Briski, who has committed to Alabama, gave up just one hit (by Flynn), walked one and struck out seven. Flynn, headed for Harvard this fall, gave up two hits, walked three and struck out seven.

The decisive pitch came in the seventh when Thunder sophomore Katelynn Larney sent the ball flying out of the yard for a home run, allowing her team to raise its record to 14-5.

Xavier returns home to Petnick Field for its next two games this week, against Gilbert Perry on Tuesday (March 29) and Mesa Red Mountain on Friday (April 1). The latter game will be a rematch of last season’s 6A state championship game won by Xavier, the school’s first.

Beach volleyball reaches for another victory

 Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball team made it a lucky seven victories on Thursday (March 25) with a 5-0 road win over Buckeye Verrado. The match was a make-up from one that had been postponed earlier in the season.

Winners for the Gators were senior Landree Coats and junior Summer McCann, sophomore Trinity Tran and senior Katie Anthony, junior Noelle Peterson and junior Mei Tsou, senior Alexa Shiner and senior Tiffany Tellez, and junior LaurenVanderwey and junior Maddie MacDonald.

On Saturday (March 26), the Gators participated in the annual Cat Box Classic, sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Wildcats. The tournament was being played at Ironwood Ridge High in Oro Valley.

And on Monday, the Gators will be back at XCP’s Cavanaugh Courts for a match against Chandler Hamilton.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Tennis slides past 'Slope, 3rd win in as many days

 It was another strong effort for Xavier Prep’s tennis team on Thursday (March 24) when the Gators rolled past visiting PhoenixSunnyslope, 9-0, at the Stark Tennis Center.

Sophomore Danielle Dyer led the way with 6-0, 6-0 shutout wins in singles and she teamed with sophomore Belanie Soto for an 8-0 triumph in doubles.

The Gators return to action again on Tuesday (March 29) with a road match against Chandler Basha.

Thursday’s result

Xavier Prep 9, Phoenix Sunnyslope 0

@ Xavier Prep


Danielle Dyer, X, def. Kiera Leskovar, S, 6-0, 6-0; Sophia Kleingartner, X, def. Bella Razinn, S, 6-0, 6-0; Megan Wheeling, X, def. Samantha Hiserodt, S, 6-0, 6-2; Belanie Soto, X, def. Tate Perker, S, 6-0, 6-0; Kristina Stender, X, def. Abbey Roth, S, 6-0, 6-1; Lily Gabler, X, def. Annabelle Schlesinger, S, 6-0, 6-1.


Soto-Dyer, X, def. Leskovar-Parker, S, 8-0; Wheeling-Stender, X, def. Razinn-Hiserodt, S, 8-0; Kleingartner-Gabler, X, def. Roth-Chloe Newburn, S, 8-0.

Improved Gator lacrosse plays tough vs. NDP

 Xavier Prep’s lacrosse team has been playing better of late, and even though the Gators fell to host Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep on Thursday night (March 24), they were very competitive.

The contest went back and forth most of the night.

Xavier had five players score – Joan Walton totaled 4 goals, McKenna Boyer and Marlee McCloskey had 3 each, Gigi Riviere had 2 and Keilani hong had 1, along with a pair of assists.

The Gators embark on a much longer road trip on Saturday (March 26) with a match at Tucson Salpointe Catholic. Game time is 5:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Fall of 2022 signals "Season of Xavier' for riders

 The Arizona Interscholastic Cycling League is billing its upcoming 10th season this fall as “Season X.’’

And nowhere does that seem to apply more than right here at Xavier Prep, where mountain biking continues to grow by the year.

The program held an event at XCP’s Lutfy Hall on Wednesday (March 23) to try to figure out how many students might be interested in signing up to participate.

Xavier-Brophy head coach Rich Perrott said that 45 students were in attendance and that 22 girls professed a desire to take the next steps, such as obtaining the team’s schedule of events.

Two new Xavier coaches were introduced, Kate Hill and Monica Millum.

Prospective team members got to meet and hear words of encouragement from Chloe Woodruff, who is a National Champion, a World Cup winner and Olympian who attended the University of Arizona and now is based out of Prescott.

Perrott was pleased by the enthusiastic atmosphere and looks forward to another season.

“The league is calling it “Season X’ and we are embracing Season X as the “Season of Xavier,’ ’’ Perrott said.

Gator tennis takes 2 in a row, now has won 8 of 9

 After two victorious matches earlier this week, Xavier Prep’s tennis team now has an 8-1 record.

The latest were an 8-1 triumph at Glendale Ironwood on Tuesday (March 22) and a 9-0 domination of host Tempe Corona del Sol on Wednesday (March 23).

Xavier was due to play host to Phoenix Sunnyslope on Thursday (March 24) at the Stark Tennis Center.

Wednesday’s results

Xavier Prep 9, Tempe Corona del Sol 0

@ Tempe Corona del Sol


Danielle Dyer, X, def. Taylor Wasson, C, 6-0, 6-1; Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. Chloe Daniel, C, 4-6, 6-0, 10-2; Sophia Kleingartner, X, def. Lia Taylor, C, 6-2, 6-2; Julia Chrostowski, X, def. Madison Wasson, C, 6-2, 6-2; Megan Wheeling, X, def. Solana Frazier, C, 6-0, 6-0; Lara Shennib, X, def. Deven Kircher, C, 6-2, 6-2.


V. Chrostowski-Dyer, X, def. Taylor-Daniel, C, 8-0; Wheeling-Kristina Stender, X, def. T. Wasson-M. Wasson, C, 8-1; Shennib-Kleingartner, X, def. Kircher-Frazier, C, 8-2.

Tuesday’s results

Xavier Prep 8, Glendale Ironwood 1

@ Glendale Ironwood


Sasha Tijore, I, def. Victoria Chrostowski, X, 6-4, 4-6, 10-3; Sophia Kleingartner, X, def. Erica Maglalang, 6-0, 6-0; Julia Chrostowski, X, def. Lilly Read, I, 6-0, 6-0; Belanie Soto, X, def. Korah Deneed, I, 6-0, 6-0; Lara Shennib, X, def. Sage Anderson, 6-0, 6-0; Lily Gabler, X, def. Kendra Brigham, 6-0, 6-0.


V. Chrostowski-Soto, X, def. Tijore-Read, I, 8-0; Shennib-Kleingartner, X, def. Maglalang-Deneed, I, 8-0; Gabler-Gabrielle Dinan, X, def. Brigham-Anderson, I, 8-0.



Wednesday, March 23, 2022

What? XCP surprisingly on short end of 10-run rule

 No, this is not a misprint.

Yes, you probably never thought you would see Xavier Prep’s softball team, which could author a book on how to put together a 10-run victory and go home early, found itself on the opposite end of that scenario on Tuesday (March 22) when it was stunned by host Chandler Basha 10-0 in five innings.

Xavier dropped to 10-3 while Basha climbed to 9-3.

It didn’t take long to notice that something was amiss with the Gators.

As the visiting team, they stood in against a rising sophomore pitcher, Natalie Fritz, to begin the game. It was almost as if they were a bit surprised in regard to how fast some of her pitches got in on them. The first two batters struck out and it set the tone.

Fritz went on to give up just three hits and struck out six.

“I guess you could say that they (Gator hitters) were swinging in an attempt to match (Fritz’s) power,’’ said Xavier coach Brad Downes.

Meanwhile, Xavier senior pitcher Riley Flynn was having a day to forget.

She gave up three runs on four hits in the first inning, three runs on three hits in the third inning, and four runs on six hits in the fourth inning, two runs coming on a home run by Alma Quinney that landed just over the fence in the left-field corner.

The defensive play of the day came by Xavier left fielder Sofia Zielinski, who charged across the foul line to snag a foul ball just at the last second before coming in contact with the fence in the bottom of the fourth inning. She was not injured.

Only two Xavier runners reached as far as second base in the contest, one of them a double by Flynn in the second inning.

Downes gave credit to Basha.

“They did a good job,’’ he said. “They were simplifying their approach and putting the ball in play.’’

Xavier hitters will face another challenge in the team’s next game on Friday (March 25) when XCP travels to Ahwatukee to face Phoenix Desert Vista. The Thunder feature one of the state’s top arms in junior Jocelyn Briski, who already has committed to the University of Alabama.

“Hopefully, this will have been a good learning experience for us and we can see how we respond the next time out,’’ Downes said.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Gators win, listed at No. 2 in beach rankings

 Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball team ran its record to 6-0 on Monday (March 21) with a 4-1 victory over visiting Phoenix Desert Vista at XCP’s Cavanaugh Courts.

The Gators were listed at No. 2 behind Tempe Corona del Sol when the Arizona Interscholastic Association's power-points rankings were released on Tuesday (March 22).

The Xavier pairs who earned victories were Summer McCann and Landree Coats (21-8, 21-15), Trinity Tran and Katie Anthony (21-17, 21-15), Alexa Shiner and Tiffany Tellez (21-16, 14-21, 15-10) and LaurenVanderwey and Emma Soderstrom (21-18, 21-15).

Xavier will play a make-up game from an earlier postponement when it travels to face Buckeye Verrado on Friday (March 25). On Saturday (March 26), the Gators will head down Interstate 10 to the Tucson area (Oro Valley) for the annual Cat Box Classic at Ironwood Ridge High.

Lacrosse picks up its second straight win

 Xavier Prep’s lacrosse team is on a roll!

The Gators won their second match in a row on Monday night (March 21), 16-15 over visiting Phoenix Horizon at Petznick Field.

Junior Gigi Riviere had one of the top performances by an XCP player in quite some time, scoring nine goals. She scored four in the first half to help keep the Gators close, then got the rest in the second half to help Xavier (2-4) pull ahead.

Xavier faces Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale on Thursday night (March 24), with the first draw at 7 p.m.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Track & field's goal is greater impact

 It had been nearly two weeks since Xavier Prep’s previous track and field meet, but the Gators looked good in their return to action in the annual AMDG Invitational at the Brophy Sports Campus on Friday (March 18).

The Gators won the team decathlon ahead of high-powered Chandler High and had one individual winner, senior Elena Soderstrom in the shot put, with a distance of 32 feet, 3 inches.

Other top-level finishers were senior Tatum Goforth, sixth in the 800-meter run, junior Reese Brown, fourth in the 1,600-meter run, senior Cierra Gonzalez, fourth in the long jump, senior Avery Allen, 3rd in the pole vault, XCP fourth in the 4x100-meter relay, XCP “A” second in the 4x800-meter relay.

Next on the Gators’ agenda is the Red Mountain Rampage on Friday (March 25) at Mesa Red Mountain. Start time is 10 a.m., followed by the Chandler Rotary Invite on Saturday (March 26) at Chandler High, with a 9:15 a.m. start time.

AMDG Invitational

Friday (March 18) @ Brophy Prep

Xavier results

100-meter hurdles – Ellie Higgins, Sr. (22nd, 18.69); Mia Portillo, Sr. (24th, 19.33); Mackenzie Lopez, So., (32nd, 25.49).

400-meter dash – Julianne Veloria, Sr. (10th, 1:00.95); Mackenzie Lopez, So. (12th, 1:01.76).

800-meter run – Tatum Goforth, Sr. (6th, 2;26.01); Kylie Graf, Jr. (10th, 2:31.74); Maria Benitez, Sr. (12th, 2:33.57).

300-meter hurdles – Ellie Higgins, Sr. (19th, 52.45); Grace McClelland, Jr. (23rd, 53.61); Morgan Finch, Jr. (31st, 55.46).

100-meter dash – Julianne Veloria, Sr. (11th, 13.00); Madigan Moran, Jr. (15th, 13.20); Maya Ofori, So. (29th, 13.43).

1,600-meter run – Reese Brown, Jr. (4th, 5:20.77); Catherine Alaimo, Sr. (9th, 5:28.04); Hannah Wheeling, Sr. (10th, 5:30.09).

Shot put – Elena Soderstrom, Sr. (1st, 32-03); Lis Montoya, So. (27th, 23-11); Aymara Ubom, So. (21-02).

Long jump – Cierra Gonzalez, Sr. (4th, 17-08 ¾); Riley Ward, Jr. (17th, 15-10).

Pole vault – Avery Allen, Sr. (3rd, 11-06).

High jump – Ellie Higgins, Sr. (6th, 4-10); Cierra Gonzalez, Sr. (7th, 4-10).

Discus – Elena Soderstrom, Sr. (6th, 88-02); Aymara Ubom, So. (23rd, 71-01); Emily Alaimo, So. (44th, 50-00).

Triple jump – Sofia Asher, Sr. (22nd, 30-08).

4x100 relay – XCP 4th, 50:32 (Julianne Veloria, Marley Stoller, Madigan Moran, Maya Ofori).

4x400 relay – Did not finish.

4x800 relay – XCP “A’’ 2nd, 9:52.68 (Maria Benitez, Tatum Goforth, Mia Stoller, Bella Gomez).; XCP “B’’ 6th, 10:58.19.

Decathlon results

100 – XCP 8th, 13.00.

Discus – XCP 5th, 26-87 meters.

Pole vault – XCP tie-2nd, 3.50 meters.

800 – XCP 5th, 2:26.01.

400 – XCP 7th, 1:00.95.

100 hurdles – XCP 15th, 18.69.

Long jump – XCP 3rd, 5.40 meters.

Shot put – XCP 1st, 9.82 meters.

High jump – XCP 4th, 1.47 meters.

1,500 – XCP 3rd, 5:20.77.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Streak is broken, lacrosse earns first win

 The time had finally arrived for Xavier Prep’s club lacrosse team to earn its first victory of the season. The Gators walked away feeling much better about themselves on Friday night (March 18) after a 14-12 win over Tempe Corona del Sol at the Benedict Sports Complex in Tempe.

Juniors Keilani Hong and Gigi Riviere led the way for XCP. Hong scored seven goals and added an assist while Riviere scored three goals.

Xavier (1-4) had a significant lead in the last half of the first half, but Corona del Sol (2-2) came back with a scoring run that gave it plenty of momentum entering the second half.

The contest was more even in the second half, and Xavier managed to maintain its advantage.

So congratulations are in order for the players, co-head coaches Diana Oduho and Jen Nevatt and assistant Clay Zuba.

The Gators will try to make it two in a row on Monday night (March 21) at 7 when they face Phoenix Horizon at Xavier’s Petznick Field.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Beach v-ball success comes from mixing, matching

 Five beach volleyball matches for Xavier Prep, five wins.

It doesn’t get much better than that.

Coach Tim McHale played mix and match with some of his pairs at Mesa Westwood on Wednesday (March 16), just to see how they worked together, and the result was the same. That’s what usually happens when you are the top program in the state.

The Gators ran their record to 5-0.

McHale put Katie Anthony in the No. 1 pairing with fellow senior Landree Coats, and they did not allow their opponent to score in double figures with 21-8, 21-6 wins.

Coats’ usual partner, junior Summer McCann, was paired with senior Emma Soderstrom for a 21-5, 21-8 win at No. 4.

Junior Noelle Peterson and sophomore Trinity Tran looked strong at the No. 2 spot with a 21-13, 21-6 triumph.

At No. 3, senior Tiffany Tellez and junior Mei Tsou produced a 21-8, 21-11 over Westwood.

In the No. 5 spot, junior Lauren Vanderwey and senior Alexa Shiner had the upper hand with a 21-2, 21-5 win.

The Gators return to action on Monday (March 21) when they play host to Phoenix Desert Vista at Petznick Field. Start time is 4 p.m.

Gators, Desert Vista stage a lacrosse score-a-thon

 For those lacrosse fans who like plenty of offense, Wednesday night’s (March 16) club match between visiting Phoenix Desert Vista and Xavier Prep was anything but boring.

The two teams combined for 42 goals, with Desert Vista taking a 23-19 win, in a contest that lasted about 2 hours and 40 minutes, approximately 40 minutes longer than a normal game, because the clock is stopped after each goal.

After the referee tosses the ball high into the air, a Xavier player and opponent from Desert Vista prepare to gain possession off the draw (Photo by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

Sophomore Marlee McCloskey certainly did her part for the Gators (0-4), scoring eight goals, all on free-position shots. A free position shot is called when the referee calls a foul on the defender, and the offensive player is allowed to move to the hash mark on the 8-meter arc and can fire away.

Also having a productive evening for Xavier was junior Gigi Riviere, who had four goals. And sophomore McKenna Boyer contributed three goals.

Xavier will play its next match on the road on Friday (March 18), facing Tempe Corona del Sol at the Benedict Sports Complex in Tempe, northwest corner of Kyrene and Guadalupe roads. Action begins at 7 p.m. on Field #4.

Tennis rises with second consecutive shutout

 Xavier Prep scored its sixth victory in seven tennis matches and second straight shutout on Wednesday (March 16), 9-0 over visiting Phoenix Mountain Pointe at the Stark Tennis Center.

The Gators had three shutout wins in singles and two in doubles.

The singles shutout winners were sophomore Belanie Soto, freshman Gabrielle Dinan and freshman Chayse Clingam.

The doubles shutouts were by senior Lily Gabler and Dinan, and freshman Maggie Henry and Clingam.

Xavier plays again on Tuesday (March 22) at Glendale Ironwood.

Xavier Prep 9, Phoenix Mountain Pointe 0

Wednesday’s result

@ Xavier Prep


Belanie Soto, X, def. Yazmin Hilton, MP, 6-0, 6-0; Lily Gabler, X, def. Brynn Nichols, MP, 6-1, 6-0; Kristina Stender, X, def. Kenadee Terry, MP, 6-1, 6-0; Gabrielle Dinan, X, def. Genevieve Quezada, MP, 6-0, 6-0; Maggie Henry, X, def. Maisa Regalado, MP, 6-1, 6-0; Chayse Clingam, X, def. Reagan Davis, MP, 6-0, 6-0.


Stender-Soto, X, def. Hilton-Nichols, MP, 8-1; Gabler-Dinan, X, def. Terry-Quezada, MP, 8-0; Henry-Clingam, X, def. Regalado-Dav is, MP, 8-0.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Softball teams do not benefit from game like this

 It was a softball game in which no team truly benefitted.

Not Xavier Prep. And certainly not Phoenix Alhambra.

Yes, Xavier won Tuesday’s (March 15) contest at Petznick Field 16-0. It was a game in which play was stopped after four innings, one inning earlier than the five-inning so-called “standard’’ with one team ahead by at least 10 runs.

Overmatched? Alhambra did its best to keep a stiff upper lip.

The Lions gave up eight hits, including two home runs. They issued 10 walks. They hit five batters. The number of wild pitches was seemingly countless.

That is why Alhambra senior catcher Natalia Garcia deserved a Purple Heart for attempting to block pitches and keep them away from the backstop for the first two innings. She then switched over to the pitcher’s role herself for the last two Xavier at-bats in the third and fourth innings.

Xavier of the 6A Conference Premier Region raised its overall record to 10-2, while Alhambra of the 6A Metro Region slipped to 4-4.

Looking for outstanding efforts from Xavier individuals?

There was senior pitcher Riley Flynn, who pitched a four-inning “perfect game,’’ striking out all 12 batters she faced in the process.

And senior shortstop Bridget Donahey slugged an opposite-field grand slam to right field and added a sacrifice fly. Sophomore Sofia Zielinski connected for a solo home run to right field.

Xavier also got some good news on the injury front. Senior infielder Meghan Schouten, who has missed nearly a month after a shoulder injury that occurred while swinging a bat in the Sunrise Mountain Invitational to begin the season, returned to action with a pair of plate appearances and some work on defense at first base.

Xavier will get a brief bit of R&R before returning to action on March 22, beginning region play with a game at Chandler Basha.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Gator lacrosse rallies, but time runs out on them

 Xavier Prep began the 2022 club lacrosse season with a pair of road losses, so Monday night’s (March 14) home opener at Petznick Field offered the Gators a big chance to put a victory on the board against Cave Creek Cactus Shadows.

While the result was the same as the first two, this 15-13 loss featured some encouraging moments for the Gators.

The most noteworthy was a rally late in the second half when the XCP scored three straight goals to move within what would be the final differential. The clock, however, was not an ally and time just ran out.

As a whole, the Gators played better in the first half, trading leads with the Falcons. The Gators scored twice in the final 1:03 for a 9-8 lead at halftime.

The early part of the second half was a different story. Cactus Shadows took advantage of five yellow cards (primarily for high sticks), going on a 5-0 run to take control of the match. By rule, Xavier had to sit two players for the infractions, one player at the fourth card with 6 minutes left and the second at the fifth card with about 3 ½ minutes to go.

Xavier made its late charge with Joan Walton’s fourth goal of the match, followed by Keilani Hong’s third goal and one by McKenna Boyer.

The last goal came at the 8:10 mark, but Cactus Shadows was able to run the clock down with its ball control and deft passing to secure the win.

The Falcons had begun the season at 3-0 before a pair of losses entering the Xavier match.

For Xavier, Marlee McCloskey had three goals and Gigi Riviere had two. Hong had three assists to go along with her three goals.

Xavier will make another attempt at earning its first win on Wednesday (March 16) at Petznick Field against Phoenix Desert Vista. Start time is 7 p.m.



Saturday, March 12, 2022

Gators bounce back after loss with big win

 Everyone needs to bounce back once in awhile. It can do wonders for one’s outlook.

It happens after you’ve had a bad day, and the next day, have a bounce in your step.

Xavier Prep’s softball team found that to be true on Friday (March 11).

The Gators bounced back from a 3-1 loss to Phoenix Pinnacle at home on Thursday (March 10) with a resounding 12-2 triumph over host Scottsdale Chaparral.

Xavier is back on track at 9-2, while Chaparral slipped to 3-8.

Senior Riley Flynn had a solid effort in the pitching circle, giving up five hits with 10 strikeouts.

But it was what she did with the bat that had the Xavier fans ooohing and aaahing and the Chaparral followers scratching their heads trying to figure out what their team could do to stop her.

Flynn was a perfect 4-for-4 with a pair of no-doubt solo home runs to pace the 13-hit Xavier parade. Senior shortstop Bridget Donahey hit a two-run homer and drove in a third run with a sacrifice fly.

Flynn said the Gators were “kind of complacent’’ after the success that led up to the game against Pinnacle, so the team talked about that afterward and again on Friday.

Xavier coach Brad Downes said Flynn’s assessment “was probably accurate. We ran into a team (Pinnacle)  that was hungry for a win and their pitching and hitting combination hurt us.

“Today, we were more focused on offense, we hit well and we played solid defense. You’ve always got to have a goal of being improved.’’

Flynn added that it “definitely’’ was a good feeling to come out with a strong performance.

None were stronger than hers.

She put a big swing on the first pitch she saw while leading off the third inning.

Flynn could not recall hitting two homers in a game before. She said she knew the first one would go over the fence in left field, and was pretty sure the second, another leadoff home run on a 2-0 pitch in the seventh, also would leave the yard.

The second homer helped the Gators score three more runs after Chaparral tallied twice in the sixth.

Xavier returns to action on Tuesday (March 15) with a game against Phoenix Alhambra at Petznick Field. First pitch is at 3:45 p.m.



Friday, March 11, 2022

Tennis gains upper hand for 3rd straight day

 Xavier Prep’s tennis team, playing for the third day in a row, made it 3-for-3 in victories by dominating host Gilbert Perry 9-0 on Thursday (March 10).

Senior Ryan Kershner and sophomore Danielle Dyer blanked their opponents, both in singles and together in doubles.

The Gators return home to the Stark Tennis Center on March 16 with a match against Phoenix Mountain Pointe.

Thursday’s result

Xavier Prep 9, Gilbert Perry 0

@ Gilbert Perry


Ryan Kershner, X, def. Callie Whitney, P, 6-0, 6-0; Danielle Dyer, X, def. Avery Jones, P, 6-0, 6-0; Victoria Chrostowski, X, def. Sydney Park, P, 6-3, 6-1; Sophia Kleingartner, X, def. Kortney Welch, P, 6-1, 6-2; Megan Wheeling, X, def. Grace Brenchley, P, 6-0, 6-1; Belanie Soto, X, def. Kiera Norby, P, 6-2, 6-3.


Dyer-Kershner, X, def. Park-Jones, P, 8-0; Soto-V. Chrostowski, X, def. Whitney-Welch, P, 8-2; Wheeling-Kristina Stender, X, def. Norby-Brenchley, P, 8-2.

Beach volleyball looks strong in match vs. Casteel

 Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball team raised its record to 4-0 on Wednesday (March 9) with a 5-0 victory over Queen Creek Casteel.

Four of the five pairs matches were 2-0 wins by the Gators, and the fifth (No.5) was played out in impressive fashion by Lauren Vanderwey and Emma Soderstrom. They dropped their first game to their Casteel opponent, 24-22, then rallied for 21-18, 15-7 wins to set the tone for their teammates.

The Gators will be back on the sand on March 16 when they face Mesa Westwood at Westwood.

Wednesday’s result

Xavier Prep 5, Queen Creek Casteel 0

@ Queen Creek Casteel

No. 1 pair – Landree Coats-Summer McCann, X, def. Maila Coles-Jadyn Orava, C, 21-17, 21-14.

No. 2 – Tiffany Tran-Katie Anthony, X, def. Daisy Motes-Hadley Tully, C, 21-17, 21-5.

No. 3 – Noelle Peterson-Mei Tsou, X, def. Sophia DiGian-Carolyn Pugh, C, 21-16, 21-18.

No. 4 – Alexa Shiner-Tiffany Tellez, X, def. Carlee Wakefield-Lilee Foster, C, 21-10, 21-8.

No. 5 – Lauren Vanderwey-Emma Soderstrom, X, def. Tatum Anderson-Mya Haen, C, 22-24, 21-18, 15-7.

Gator softball falls short against Pinnacle

 It was one of those days when no matter what your team tries to do, the opponent seems to be a step ahead.

And Xavier Prep’s softball team couldn’t get going as visiting Phoenix Pinnacle scored a mild 3-1 upset of the defending 6A Conference state champions at on Thursday (May 10) at Petznick Field.

Xavier dropped to 8-2 while Pinnacle’s record is now 7-4. Xavier turns around and plays a road game on Friday at 3:45 p.m. against Scottsdale Chaparral (3-7).

The Gators held a precarious 1-0 lead after three innings.

Second baseman Lauren Putz hit an opposite-field single through the hole between third base and shortstop, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored when first baseman Emma Petersen hit a slow infield roller and beat the throw to first.

Meanwile, Xavier ace senior pitcher Riley Flynn and Pinnacle senior Reis Beuerlein were involved in quite a duel. It wasn’t that Flynn threw poorly, but more that Beuerlein threw a bit better.

Beuerlein gave up just four hits, one run and struck out 10 to earn the victory. Flynn gave up all three Pinnacle runs, eight hits and struck out five. The loss was her second of the season.

Beuerlein also excelled with the bat, collecting a pair of hits and driving in a run in a two run fifth inning. Freshman Payton Crank drove in the other run with a double.

In the sixth, Paige Stockford put the frosting on the cake when she hit a leadoff home run to center field that might have been helped by a brisk wind. No matter how it got over – it got over.

Xavier went down in order in the bottom of the seventh as Beuerlein got the game’s final out on a strikeout.

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Dyer's growing maturity helps XCP tennis lineup

 Danielle Dyer has had a lot of growing up to do in her time on the tennis courts at Xavier Prep.

Last season, she played an integral part for the Gators after being put together with then-fellow freshman Belanie Soto in doubles, and they made it all the way to the Division I final before falling to Scottsdale Desert Mountain.

This season, Dyer has displayed even more maturity, becoming a stabilizing factor in the No. 2 singles spot for coach Laurie Martin, and has teamed up in the top doubles pairing with senior Ryan Kershner.

In a key matchup against a tough Scottsdale Chaparral team on Wednesday at XCP’s Stark Tennis Center, Dyer won her singles match, 6-2, 6-3 and teamed with Kershner to take doubles, 8-4.

That helped to put the Gators’ overall record at 4-1 with another match scheduled for the third straight day on Thursday (March 10), this time at Gilbert Perry.

Martin said Dyer “is a good, young player, very athletic and very fast. An opponent can think they have the ball put away when she gets over and tracks it down.’’

The coach added that Dyer and Kershner have worked well together.

“They want to play together and play together at state,’’ Martin said. “They have worked really hard and have done a good job.’’

Senior Victoria Chrostowski provided a pivotal moment against Chaparral, when she won an 11-9 tiebreaker in the No. 3 singles match. Had it gone in the other direction, it might have changed the complexion of the match.

Wednesday’s result

Xavier Prep 6, Scottsdale Chaparral 3

At Xavier Cavanaugh Courts


Ryan Kershner, X, def. Brook Berbeco, C, 6-4, 6-2; Dani Dyer, X, def. Jordan Isaak, C, 6-2, 6-3; Victoria Chrostowski,  X, def. Maya Buchwold, C, 4-6, 6-4 (11-9 tiebreaker); Reya Maestas, C, def. Sophia Kleingartner, X, 6-4, 6-4; Karolina Moss, C, def. Lara Shennib, X, 6-4, 6-1; Hannah Wheeling, X, def. Sydney Alphabet, C, 6-1, 6-0.


Kershner-Dyer, X, def. Berbeco-Isaak, C, 8-4; Buchwold-Maestas, C, def. V. Chrostowski-Belanie Soto, X, 8-3; Wheeling-Kristina Stender, X, def. Sophia Koss-K. Moss, C, 8-4.

Tuesday’s result

Xavier Prep 7, Chandler 2

At Chandler High


Chandler def. Sophia Kleingarner, X, 6-0, 6-0; Lara Shennib, X, def. Chandler, 6-3, 6-0; Lily Gabler, X, def. Chandler, 6-1, 6-0; Belanie Soto, X, def. Chandler, 6-0, 6-0; Kristina Stender, X, def. Chandler, 6-0, 6-0; Gabrielle Dinan, X, def. Chandler, 6-0. 6-0.


Chandler def. Shennib-Soto, X, 8-5; Kleingartner-Stender, X, def. Chandler, 8-0; Gabler-Dinan, X, def. Chandler, 8-1.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Softball scores four in 7th to rally past O'Connor

 Sometimes a game comes easy. Other times, it is more of a challenge, such as the encounter between the softball teams from Xavier Prep and Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor on Monday (March 7) at O’Connor.

Xavier scored three times in the first inning but later fell behind, then rallied for four runs in the top of the seventh for a 7-5 victory, giving the defending 6A Conference champion Gators an 8-1 record. O’Connor slipped to 3-4.

The Gators connected for three home runs, two by sophomore infielder Lauren Putz and one by senior shortstop Bridget Donahey. Those two players combined for six hits. Infielder Izzy Hycnar drove in a pair of runs and outfielder Elliot Smith had three hits.

Senior pitcher Riley Flynn gave up 10 hits against O’Connor, walked four and struck out eight but still managed to get credit for the victory.

Xavier will have two more games this week – at home against Phoenix Pinnacle on Thursday (March 10) and on the road against Scottsdale Chaparral on Friday (March 11).

Lacrosse aims to turn things around

 Xavier Prep’s club lacrosse team continues to search for the right combination after its first two matches of the season.

The Gators fell to Phoenix Horizon 11-10 in the first match on March 1 and fell to a Chandler team made up primarily of Hamilton players and others from that area 19-10 on Monday night (March 7) at a field in east Mesa.

Xavier will play its first home match of the season on March 14 at Petznick Field. The opponent for the 7 p.m. match will be Cave Creek Cactus Shadows, which had won its first three matches, outscoring opponents 55-8, and was due to play a fourth on Tuesday night (March 8) on the road against Scottsdale Notre Dame Prep.

Junior Keilani Hong is Xavier’s top scorer with 9 goals and junior Gigi Riviere has 6.

Beach volleyball coach excited about team's growth

 Xavier Prep’s most competitive beach volleyball match of the young season occurred on Monday (March 7), when the Gators defeated Gilbert Perry 4-1 at XCP’s Cavanaugh Courts.

The Gators won their third match of the season, after previous victories over Phoenix Sunnyslope and Mesa High.

“It was a good test against a familiar foe that plays in a specific way, and that always is a tough match,’’ said Xavier head coach Tim McHale.

“I am really excited about our growth. We had some of our kids step up and play huge.’’

As Mei Tsou (front) signals to the location, Xavier's Noelle Peterson begins her follow-through on a serve against Gilbert Perry. (Photo by Sr. Lynn Winsor).

One of those players would be junior Angela Valentine, who stepped in to join No. 2 pairs player Katie Anthony (senior) after an injury to Trinity Tran and helped to produce a 21-11, 21-18 victory.

“Angela and Katie were out there like fire and ice today,’’ McHale said. “Angela playing like her hair is on fire and Katie was as cool as the other side of the pillow.’’

In Xavier’s No. 5 pairing, Lauren Vanderwey and Maddie MacDonald played the first match of the afternoon and earned a 21-15, 21-13 victory. McHale said Vanderwey, a junior, is quickly starting to develop into a reliable player.

And the team’s top duo, senior Landree Coats and junior Summer McCann, survived a tough match for twin 21-19 victories.

Coats is headed for San Jose State next year, and McHale is happy he will have McCann  for another year after this. She is one of the team’s vocal leaders. She and now-graduated Serena Turner won the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s pairs title last season.

Xavier Prep 4, Gilbert Perry 1

Monday’s results

Summer McCann-Landree Coats, X, def. Jordan Suan-Avery Burks, P, 21-19, 21-19.

Katie Anthony-Angela Valentine, X, def. Brynn Davie-Madi Branting, P, 21-11, 21-18.

Mei Tsou-Noelle Peterson, X, def. Ireland Avalos-Amy Wahlin, P, 21-14, 23-21.

Adi Galvanoni-Reagan Reynolds, P, def. Alexa Shiner-Tiffany Tellez, X, 21-19, 21-13.

Lauren Vanderwey-Maddie MacDonald, X, def. Isa Blackwell-MacKenzie Ransom, P, 21-15, 21-13.

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Gonzalez helps Gators get good grades in Aztec

 Saturday (March 5) was a productive day for senior Cierra Gonzalez and the Xavier Prep track and field team.

Gonzalez won the high jump and long jump events and finished second in the 200-meter dash, and the Gators’ 4x800-meter relay team won that event to highlight the effort in the annual Aztec Invite at Tempe Corona del Sol.

There were other second-place finishes, by sophomore Bella Gomez in the 400-meter dash and junior Reese Brown in the 1,600-meter run, along with senior Avery Allen in the pole vault, senior Elena Soderstrom in the discus and senior Ellie Higgins in the javelin.

The Gators’ next will compete on March 12 in the Rattler Booster at Phoenix North Canyon. Start time is 9 a.m.

Aztec Invitational

Saturday @ Tempe Corona del Sol

Xavier results

100-meter dash – Marley Stoller, Fr., 4th, 13.59; Madigan Moran, Jr., 14th, 13.99; Maya Ofori, So., 16th, 14.02; Ava Sharett, So., 17th, 14.05.

200-meter dash – Cierra Gonzalez, Sr., 2nd, 26.85; Madigan Moran, Jr., 9th, 28.12; Lucy Benjamin, Fr., 13th, 28.78.

400-meter dash – Bella Gomez, So., 2nd, 1:01.12; Mia Stoller, Fr., 4th, 1:02.29; Lucy Benjamin, Fr., 9th, 1:05.36.

800-meter run – Reese Brown, Jr., 9th, 2:32.80; Naomi Young, Jr., 10th, 2:33.67; Kylie Graf, Jr., 12th, 2:35.70; Catherine Alaimo, Sr., 14th, 2:38.67.

1,600-meter run – Reese Brown, Jr. 2nd, 5:35.73; Catherine Alaimo, Sr., 3rd, 5:39.04; Hannah Wheeling, Sr., 5th, 5:42.38; Kylie Graf, Jr., 11th, 5:49.19.

3,200-meter run – Nora Hinkle, Jr., 7th, 12:44.30; Summer Goodman, So., 8th, 12:53.61; Maggie Mostoller, Fr., 9th, 12:54.35; Olivia Charles, Jr., 11th, 12:58.03.

100-meter hurdles – Mackenzie Lopez, So., 6th, 17.66; Mia Portillo, Sr., 13th, 19.48; Elayna Pennell, So., 16th, 24.12.

300-meter hurdles – Morgan Finch, Jr., 10th, 55.04; Grace McClelland, Jr., 11th, 55.29; Mia Portillo, Sr., 15th, 1:00.32.

4x100-meter relay – XCP 3rd, 50.76.

4x800-meter relay – XCP 1st, 10:13.99.

High jump – Cierra Gonzalez, Sr., 1st, 5-02; Ellie Higgins, Sr., 5th, 4-09; Sofia Asher, Sr., 15th, 4-0.

Long jump – Cierra Gonzalez, Sr., 1st, 17-10 ½; Ellie Higgins, Sr., 5th, 15-07 ¾; Riley Ward, Jr., 7th, 15-01 ½.

Triple jump – Sofia Asher, Sr., 6th, 31-05.

Pole vault – Avery Allen, Sr., 2nd, 12-0.

Discus – Elena Soderstrom, Sr., 2nd, 93-08; Aymara Ubom, So., 24th, 56-04; Emily Alaimo, So., 27th, 46-10.

Javelin – Ellie Higgins, Sr., 2nd, 82-11; Elena Soderstrom, Sr., 4th, 82-0; Callie Ehmann, Jr., 13th, 62-04.

Shot put – Lis Montoya, So., 11th, 22-06 ½; Aymara Ubom, So., 24th, 18-06; Emily Alaimo, So., 26th, 18-0.