Blogs / Features
Don KetchumStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Xavier starts quickly, doesn't let up in rout of PinnacleOct 30, 2012
By Don Ketchum
Fast and furious.
That was the approach of the volleyball team from Phoenix Xavier Prep for its first-round match against visiting Phoenix Pinnacle in Tuesday night’s (Oct. 30) opening-round match of the Division I state tournament.
It worked just as the third-seeded Gators had planned. They applied pressure from the start and rolled to a three-set sweep of the 14th-seeded Pioneers 25-11, 25-13 and 25-20.
Xavier moves on to the next round on Thursday night (Nov. 1) and will play at home against either No. 6 Scottsdale Chaparral or No. 1 Phoenix Desert Vista.
In the first set, Xavier led 8-7 and then outscored Pinnacle 17-4 the rest of the way, frustrating the Pioneers with blocks all along the next or digging out kill attempts for the return.
Pinnacle had a 6-4 lead in the second set, but Xavier turned things around and finished with a 21-7 run. It was more of the same, frequent kills and blocks by the Gators.
Pinnacle again had a brief lead in the third set before Xavier turned up the tempo and coasted to the next round.
“This is what you train for – the end of the season, to be able to play like this,’’ said Xavier coach Tim McHale, who has announced he will step down after this season to spend more time with his family.
“It is our goal to spread the ball around, and we are deep,’’ he said.
Junior outside hitter Mia Teilborg led the way with 12 kills, senior middle blocker Megan O’Sullivan had eight and freshman outside hitter Khalia Lanier had five. Senior libero Amanda Benson had 34 digs.
And Benson’s serve is a factor. It has power, but sometimes acts like a knuckleball without a lot of spin and a quick drop.