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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

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.

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