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.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Xavier tennis scores important win over Hamilton

 Just like the wind that swirled through the courts at Xavier Prep’s Stark Tennis Center on Tuesday (April 12), the direction of an individual match or overall team match can change before you know it.

The good thing, according to Xavier coach Laurie Martin, “the wind can work for and against both sides,’’ so no team gets a real advantage..

Things came full circle on Tuesday, when Xavier met Hamilton in a rematch of last season's semifinals won by Hamilton. In the regular-season finale for both schools, both teams came in with 12-1 records, having lost to only Scottsdale Desert Mountain, the defending state champion and winner of three of the last four titles.

It was Senior Day for the Gators and the afternoon carried a state-tournament feel.

The teams battled back and forth, splitting the six singles matches, and the Gators took over in doubles, winning all three for a 6-3 victory.

“Finally, we have pretty good health,’’ Martin said.

The team portion of the state tournament begins April 26, which will give the Gators time (including Spring Break) to get ready. Individual singles and doubles get going on April 29.

“We’ve had a good season,’’ Martin said. “We have been able to develop some depth, and our players have become close with each other.’’

Ryan Kershner has had a strong senior season.

Against Hamilton on Tuesday, Kershner played some of her best tennis of the season. She was aggressive, charged the ball on short returns, worked the baseline well and seemed consistent with her serves. She defeated the Huskies’ No. 1, Shivika Agrawal, 6-1, 6-2, and teamed with Danielle Dyer to defeat Agrawal and Esther Qiu 8-3 in doubles.

Some of the younger players had some nervous moments in the early season, but since have left that at a minimum.

Martin said that sophomores Belanie Soto and Meghan Wheeling “have been really able to get into their form,’’ and freshman Julia Chrostowski is on the way to become a reliable player.

Tuesday’s result

Xavier Prep 6, Chandler Hamilton 3

@ Xavier’s Stark Tennis Center


Ryan Kershner, X, def. Shivika Agrawal, H, 6-1, 6-2; Danielle Dyer, X, def. Esther Qiu, H, 6-3, 6-2; Olivia Stephens, H, def. Victoria Chrostowski, X, 6-3, 7-5; Mikaela Correa, H, def. Julia Chrostowski, X, 6-4, 6-4; Angelina Roehl, H, def. Meghan Wheeling, X, 6-2, 6-2; Belanie Soto, X, def. Aarya Patel, H, 6-1, 6-1.


Kershner-Dyer, X, def. Agrawal-Qiu, H, 8-3; Soto-V. Chrostowski, X, def. Stephens- Correa, H, 8-6; Wheeling-Kristina Stender, X, def. Roehl-Patel, H, 8-3.

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