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 1, 2022

Early jitters don't affect Gators too much

 Xavier Prep’s beach volleyball team was supposed to open its defense of the Division I state championship on Feb. 23, but rain washed out a match against Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge.

So the Gators had to wait almost another week before making their 2022 debut on Monday (Feb. 28)  at XCP’s Cavanaugh Courts against visiting Phoenix Sunnyslope.

Xavier coach Tim McHale said he thought “there was some nervousness’’ among some of his players, but they certainly did not play like it, sweeping the10 games in the five pairings categories for a 5-0 victory.

“We played well for the most part, were able to shake the rust off,’’ said McHale, whose program has eight titles in the nine years the sport has been in Arizona.

“Obviously, we have things to work on,’’ McHale added. “We need to take care of certain things.’’

Some players need to work on their serves. Others need to work on their communication skills.

Each pairing group will have some time to adjust to the various new elements, but McHale does not seem overly concerned about it.

He liked the play of his top three duos – Summer McCann and Landree Coats, Trinity Tran and Katie Anthony and especially Noelle Peterson and Mei Tsou.

Xavier will be at home again on Wednesday (March 2) against Mesa High and will be off for a week after that before heading to Queen Creek for a match at Casteel.

Monday’s result

Xavier Prep 5, Phoenix Sunnyslope 0

No. 1 pairing – Summer McCann-Landree Coats, X, def. Sunnyslope, 21-16, 21-13.

No. 2 – Trinity Tran-Katie Anthony, X, def. Sunnyslope, 21-6, 21-8.

No. 3 – Noelle Peterson-Mei Tsou, X, def. Sunnyslope, 21-10, 21-11.

No. 4 – Alexa Shiner-Tiffany Tellez, X, def. Sunnyslope, 21-11. 21-9.

No. 5 – Finley Workman-Maddie MacDonald, X, def. Sunnyslope, 21-12, 21-14.



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