Since the inception of girls' soccer at Payson High School two years ago, the team has had to toil through the regular season knowing there would be no postseason play similar to the state tournament held for boys.
But that could all change this fall.
Lady Longhorn coach Linda Gibson says there is a movement under way in prep volleyball circles to hold a girls' state tournament at the end of October in Camp Verde. The fledgling tournament would be held concurrently with the boys' finals, also to be held in Camp Verde.
Because the tournament is still in the planning stages, coaches are unsure of the format or how teams might qualify.
Gibson says it's a possibility all of the girls' teams in the state would be invited and a single elimination tournament held.
Whatever the scenario, the coach says, having postseason play to look forward to will be a definite plus for her charges and other girls' teams around the conference.
The Lady Longhorns began preparations for the upcoming season Monday morning at Rumsey Park. Throughout the week, the team practiced from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
On Monday and Tuesday, practices will be 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. When school opens on Wednesday, practices will be 3:30 p.m to 5 p.m. at Rumsey.
Fourteen girls, nine of which are letter-winners from last year, are currently out for the team, but Gibson is hoping for more participation.
"I'd like to carry at least 18 on the roster," she said.
With Payson High School's realignment from the Central to the East, the Lady Longhorns will now be playing teams from that division, but also kept old rivals Sedona and Chino Valley on the 14-game schedule.