Buckle up for a wild and woolly ride, volleyball fans -- the Lady Longhorns are traveling to Snowflake today to try to avenge three losses to a season-long nemesis.
At 7 p.m. in Snowflake High School gymnasium, the Horn net crew will take to the court to try to end the hex the Lady Lobos have over Payson.
Since Payson was upended by Snowflake in the championship finale of the Payson Invitational Sept. 11 and again in the 3A East Division tournament Sept. 25 in Holbrook, the team and coach Sue Weems have looked forward to an opportunity to again face the Lobos.
"Oh, yeah, we want to play that game," Weems said. "It's a big one."
In addition to being a grudge match, the encounter is a crucial East clash and could go a long way in determining the first and second seeds to the division tournament in Snowflake.
Currently the Lady Horns are 7-1 in division play and all alone in second place behind the unbeaten and league-leading Lobos.
A Payson victory this evening would throw a monkey wrench into the division standings with only one week remaining in regular season play.
After Snowflake, the Horns have two East encounters on the agenda-- Oct. 21 in Wilson Dome against Blue Ridge and Oct. 26 in Holbrook.
If the Horns can pull off the upset of the season to beat the Lobos and then go on to win the final two games, they would earn at least a tie for the East crown.
However, a loss to the Lobos would almost ensure that Payson finishes no better than second.
Whip the Falcons
Alchesay is not considered a power in the East Division but in the opening game of a match played Oct. 12 in Whiteriver, the Falcons gave the Horns all the fight they could muster.
After falling behind 14-11 late in the game, the Lady Horns finally rallied to win the nail-biter 17-15.
Weems attributed the lack luster play to poor pre-game preparations.
"We didn't warm up well," she said. "We needed to focus more. We began the game unprepared, both mentally and physically."
In the second game, however, the Lady Horns shook off the doldrums to win 15-5.
"We got it together and got off to a great start," the coach said.
Jayvees continue to win
Coach Krystal Garvin's jayvee squad upped its record to 9-3 with 15-4 and 15-8 wins over Alchesay in a match played just prior to the varsity encounter.
Brooke McRae supplied much of the firepower with four kills and a strong serving effort that included 11 of the team's 15 second game points.
Garvin also cited the defensive play of Laura Hatch and McRae as catalysts to the victory.
"Although we won in two games, we continue to struggle as a team with passing," Garvin said.
"We are still trying to bounce back from some intra-squad differences but we're doing a good job of moving forward."
Like their varsity counterparts, Garvin's charges will travel to Snowflake today to take on the powerful Lobos. Jayvee game time is 5:45 p.m.