When the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) added beach volleyball to the list of high school varsity sports almost 10 years ago, Xavier Prep saw an opportunity to build a program that could become the kind of dynasty the school already owned in golf, cross country, and swimming & diving.
That plan has worked to perfection. The all-girls Catholic school in central Phoenix just added its eighth state title in the nine seasons since the sport’s inception.
The Gators had this year’s Division I championship wrapped up even before the final match was played yesterday at Casteel High School in Queen Creek. When Lexi Yoza and Landree Coates won the No. 2 pairs match, it gave Xavier a 3-1 team advantage, essentially sealing the 4-1 victory over Sandra Day O’Connor HS.
Serena Turner and Summer McCann played the 1s match anyhow, sending the senior Turner off to college, where she will be playing for Stanford, with a state championship victory.
O’Connor’s lone match victory started off the competition yesterday when Emma Soncrant and Trinity Freeman beat Xavier’s Mei Tsou and Trinity Tran in the 5s match, winning in straight sets.
The Gators haven’t been beaten since the 2019 season, which was the last season played because of the cancellation of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus. The state title win makes it 31 straight, and the 16-0 finish marks the seventh season the Gators have ended a season undefeated.
And the Division II championship was almost a mirror image of what happened in D-I.
Tucson’s Salpointe Catholic beat Valley Christian by a similar team score of 4-1 to put the icing on a 15-0 record this season.
And, like Xavier’s win, the D-I crown was claimed early when the No. 2 pairs, Rylen Bourguet and Emma Hugeback won in two games, 21-13 and 21-16.
The big difference between the D-I and D-II results: this was the first state title in the sport for Salpointe.