Paisley Pool
ASU Student Journalist

Xavier College Prep volleyball off to 5-0 start

September 17, 2023 by Paisley Pool, Arizona State University

Varsity volleyball warming up in Xavier Activity Center. (Paisley Pool photo/AZPreps365)

Paisley Pool is an ASU Cronkite School of Journalism student assigned to cover Xavier College Prep  for AZPrep365.

Xavier College Preparatory has accomplished a prestigious reputation in education, and also in sports. The Gators have won more state titles than almost any other high school in the United States.  

While many of Xavier’s sports teams are acclaimed and make it to state often, like badminton and golf, one cannot ignore Xavier’s varsity volleyball team. 

The varsity volleyball team coached by Lamar- Renee Bryant and assisted by Jamie Itule has swept five teams consecutively in three out of five sets. The first three sweeps were against Liberty, Gilbert and Cesar Chavez. Then, the last two against Highland and Mountain View. 

“Just taking care of business, our serve and pass has so far been really strong, and when we serve and pass and run our offense, good things happen,” said Bryant. 

Xavier is situated second in the 6A Premiere Region, but its next opponent could make or break its clean streak. The Corona Del Sol Aztecs are the 2022 6A state victors. The Gators could have a tough match ahead. 

What makes this match even more intense is the fact that both Bryant and Itule attended Corona Del Sol. 

“We know the head coach too, so this is going to be a sweet game,” Itule said. 

During the Mountain View game last Wednesday, Xavier second setter Selah O’Connor rolled her ankle and will not play in the Corona Del Sol match. Bryant thinks it's a good opportunity to run a 5-1 rotation against Corona. This means No. 1 setter Vivian Hickman will have few to no breaks. 

The final outcome will most definitely be a good indicator of where Xavier belongs in the division and the same for Corona Del Sol. As for the rest of the season, the Gators will face Boulder Creek and Basha before the Durango Fall Classic Tournament this weekend. 

The Durango Fall Classic tournament was started in California in 1995 by Bob Kelly, a volleyball coach who dreamed up an idea for a high school volleyball competition between local high schools. 

He coached men’s and women’s volleyball at both Clark and Durango high school and delivered nine combined state titles. After 30 years of coaching, Kelly retired. 

He never thought his tournament would grow so big. “I thought it would be a good, solid regional tournament. I’m very proud of how it’s evolved. It lives its own life,” Kelly told the 2023 Durango Fall Classic website. 

So far, Xavier has shown it belongs in this prestigious tournament. The Gators will travel to Las Vegas this weekend when they will play teams from several different states.