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Defending Boys High School champions Xavier have had a bit of a tough road this year, losing a couple of games early, but Coach Mike Tolkin may feel that was exactly what the team needed.
“We lost to Gonzaga in our first and third games of the season,” Tolkin
explained. “We were still working on our lineup and we’ve developed pretty
well since then.”
Xavier recently took a trip to Canada to play Uxbridge, one of the stronger teams in Ontario, and came away with a confidence-boosting win. Now they face St. Thomas Aquinas in their opening match, a team that faired very well in the West and are led by outstanding No. 8 Cody Powell.
“They come from a good competition and have looked strong so far,” said Tolkin. “They know how to move the ball. If we get through them we might face Charlotte Catholic, who I know are good athletes and are fit. But we have to take it not only one game at a time, but one scoring instance at a time. These are short games; you have to take points when you can.”
Xavier has some excellent players, including a back row that features Adam Duignan and Joe Corrado. Christian Mattera directs things well from flyhalf, while Eddie Sullivan has been effective at fullback.
Overall, the Xavier that lost to Gonzaga may not be the Xavier we see in Salt Lake City.
“We’ve had a lot of work finding our best combinations, and working up to our biggest challenge,” said Tolkin. “But I think we are at our best right now.”