Xavier girls on verge of state championship sweep in fall sports - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

Xavier girls on verge of state championship sweep in fall sports

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Posted: Monday, November 16, 2009 5:35 pm | Updated: 1:45 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

As if setting a new state record by winning all five possible girls 5A Division I team state championships in one season wasn't incentive enough, the Phoenix Xavier volleyball team has another possible carrot dangling in front of them when the Gators face Tempe Corona del Sol in Tuesday's championship match.

The captains of each Gators fall sport - volleyball, swimming, golf, cross country and badminton - went to principal Sister Joan Fitzgerald, and tried a plea bargain.

If the Gators make it a clean sweep, the school gets an extra day off.

Sister Joan's response: Come back when the volleyball team wins and we'll talk.

It won't be easy by any stretch. Xavier and Corona met in the first match of the regular season, a sweep by the Gators in which the final two games went down to the wire.

Still, no one in the 5A conference - boys or girls - has ever done what the Gators will attempt to do.

"If they do it, it would be truly a shocking record to it," athletic director and golf coach Sister Lynn Winsor said. "We never thought about it. Looking at the (Fiesta) region it didn't come into our thought."

Xavier won four of the five state titles last season and it was reasonable expectation that would happen again, but the move to the Fiesta Region with Mesa, Mesa Red Mountain, Chandler, Chandler Hamilton and Phoenix Desert Vista made their region twice as tough, and, as it's turned out, made the Gators better.

"I remember everyone said we were in a tough region, don't expect to win as much," Winsor said. "Look what's happened. Tough competition does this to a team."

Badminton was first in late October, and the Gators hadn't won the team title since 2004. But when they won, the thought of perfection crept into coaches' and administrators' minds.

Easy to see why. The golf team had won 11 consecutive (now 12 straight) state titles, swimming had won 10 consecutive team titles (now 11 straight), volleyball was No. 1 in the power rankings and the cross country team had won back-to-back (now three consecutive).

Golf, however, was the most nail-biting, as the Gators trailed Chandler Hamilton by one stroke going into the final round before winning by nine shots, the closest any team has come to the Gators since Winsor became the school's coach in 1980.

Tuesday's volleyball finale is all that remains. No pressure, though.

"We've never really sat around and said, 'Let's go 5 for 5,' '' Winsor said. "But badminton came through and everyone followed. Every day there's a tough team. There's no sitting back and waiting."

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