Fresh off winning the sportsmanship trophy and fourth-place honors at the Show Low Invitational last weekend, the Lady Longhorn soccer team (4-2 overall) returns to action at 1 p.m. Saturday at Rumsey Park against Camp Verde.
CV is no stranger to coach Linda Gibson and her charges, having been a rival of the local squad since the inception of girls' soccer at PHS two years ago.
Only two days after hosting Camp Verde, the Payson girls will travel to Sedona Sept. 20 to take on a team the Lady Horns broke even with in the Show Low tournament.
The Lady Horns' credentials in the White Mountains included three victories by identical 2-1 scores. The triumphs came against St. Johns, Sedona and Snowflake.
In a second match against Sedona, the Horns fell 3-1.
Throughout most of the fray, the Lady Horns were playing without the services of sophomore starter LeeAnn Owens who sprained her ankle early in the first game.
Her departure meant the team was without one of it's vital cogs.
In a 4-2 regular-season loss to Show Low Sept. 8, Owens played particularly well at her new sweeper position, prompting Gibson to proclaim "I think we finally may have a good line up."
In addition to Owens' move to sweeper, the coach had shifted Ashley Hollobaugh to wing. But with Owens' injured, the coach was forced to again shuffle the deck trying to place players where they could make the greatest contributions to the team effort.
Playing shorthanded, the Horns struggled through shooting woes especially in the victory over St. Johns when the team amassed a whopping 42 shots on goal but scored only twice.
"Needless to say, we were a little off," Gibson said.
In addition to bringing home the sportsmanship trophy, April Cheek and Hollobaugh were named to the all-tournament team in a voting of coaches.
Throughout the tournament, the Horns were cheered on by a nice-sized contingent of Payson fans, which was a boost for the team's morale, Gibson said.
"We had great support and really appreciate those who came to watch the games," she said.
Prior to the Show Low Tournament, in the team's regular season opener Sept. 1, the Lady Horns survived an early case of the jitters to easily pound the Round Valley Elks 3-0.
"We started off a little excited, but finally settled down," Gibson said. April Cheek paced the team in scoring with two goals. Freshman Megan Branstetter scored the other.