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, April 26, 2022

Another beach title is within reach of these Gators

 The beach volleyball teams from Xavier Prep and Phoenix Sandra Day O’Connor have some unfinished business out there on the table in Wednesday night’s (April 27) 6A state championship match at Casteel High in Queen Creek.

Top-seeded Sandra Day O’Connor is looking for payback after losing to the Gators 4-1 in that title match. And second-seeded Xavier wants to make up for a rare shutout (5-0) at the hands of the Eagles when they met at the Victory Lane Sports Complex in Glendale on March 30, Xavier’s only loss of the season.

Sandra Day O’Connor is 14-1, Xavier is 13-1.

Both teams won their semifinal matches on Monday night (April 25) at Casteel, Xavier 4-1 over No. 3 Mesa Mountain View and Sandra Day O’Connor 4-1 over No. 4 Tempe Corona del Sol.

“I don’t necessarily think that it’s unfinished business. We just want to find out where we’re at (in terms of being competitive) and to do that, you have to be there,’’ said Xavier coach Tim McHale.

“It was good to see our team out there playing well and just continuing to grind.’’

A lot of sand was kicked up as Xavier and Mountain View (11-2) battled it out.

Most of the games were closer than not. Highlights were the 21-19, 21-18 win by the No. 3 pair of juniors Mei Tsou and Noelle Peterson, and the victorious effort by No. 1s Summer McCann (junior) and Landree Coats (senior), 21-17, 21-19.

6A Conference beach volleyball semifinal

Monday (April 25) at Queen Creek Casteel

Xavier Prep 4, Mesa Mountain View 1

No. 1 pairs – Summer McCann-Landree Coats, X, def. Reece Fischbeck-Briley Decker, MV, 21-17, 21-19.

No. 2 – Lexi Williams-Rachel Reed, MV, def. Trinity Tran-Katie Anthony, X, 16-21, 21-16, 15-9.

No. 3 – Mei Tsou-Noelle Peterson, X, def. Jordyn Decker-Aaliyah Austin, MV, 21-19, 21-18.

No. 4 – Alexa Shiner-Tiffany Tellez, X, def. Olivia Tukuafu-Taylor Hunt, MV, 21-17, 21-17.

No. 5 – Lauren Vanderwey-Maddie MacDonald, X, def. Harley Noble-Braily Skousen, MV, 21-12, 21-13.

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