Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Xavier stumbles early, rallies for 3 straight vs. D. VistaOct 17, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Playing its final volleyball match of the regular season, Phoenix Xavier Prep was looking for a way to begin preparing for the Division I state tournament that begins on Oct. 30.
The Gators got what they asked for on Wednesday night (Oct. 17), and more.
Visiting Phoenix Desert Vista gave them all they could handle, stretching it out to four sets and nearly a fifth.
After dropping the first set, 25-20, Xavier came back to win the next three, 25-20, 26-24 and 26-24.
“It was Xavier-Desert Vista, back and forth, back and forth. We bring out the best in each other,’’ said a relieved Xavier coach Tim McHale.
Xavier, fourth in the latest Arizona Interscholastic Association seedings, raised its record to 32-10. Eighth-seeded Desert Vista, which had defeated Xavier 25-21, 27-25 in the (Mesa) Westwood Tournament in September, fell to 26-8.
In Wednesday night’s first set, Desert Vista led 21-19 and scored three straight points to position itself for the win.
The second set looked to be more of the same as the Thunder rolled up an 11-4 lead. Xavier caught up at 13 and again at 15 and 16 before taking the win, scoring off blocks at 23 and 24.
Xavier sped to a 16-9 lead, but Desert Vista came back to knot it at 22 and 23 and 24 before Xavier scored the last two. The decisive point was a gift as the result of a net serve by Desert Vista.
In the fourth set, Xavier led early 6-1, but Desert Vista hung in there, leading 21-20 and coming back to tie it at 22, 23 and 24.
The big factor for Xavier down the stretch was the play of 6-foot-2 senior middle blocker Megan O’Sullivan, who had two big kills and then a block on the final point that sealed the match.
“She is our steadying force,’’ McHale said.
Now it’s back to the drawing board for McHale and the Gators, waiting to see who they will play in the first round.