The unbeaten Lady Longhorn junior varsity volleyball express, 5-0 on the year, is steaming unchecked into this week's crucial clashes against Fountain Hills and Snowflake.
The team travels to Fountain Hills for a 5 p.m. encounter today (Tuesday) and hosts the Lobos at 5 p.m. Sept. 23 in Wilson Dome.
The opponents are rugged, well-regarded net squads, but if the team continues to show the spirited mettle it had on display in last week's twin victories over Alchesay and Show Low, the Lady Horns have every opportunity to emerge victorious, coaches say.
The win over the Cougars at Show Low was one of the squad's most spirited victories of the still-young campaign.
The jayvees easily took the first game 15-7 primarily relying upon what coach Krystal Garvin described as good passing and aggressive play.
"We worked together as a team. We looked sharp," the coach said.
Riding the crest of success, the team could only stand and watch as the wheels came off the Horn wagon in a 15-6 second-game loss.
"We struggled, fell apart as a team, and stopped playing aggressively," Garvin said.
During the early minutes of the rubber match, Payson continued to struggle offensively and defensively. With the Cats leading 14-11, the Lady Horns were precariously close to losing.
Eventually, however, the resilient Lady Horns rebounded for a spirited 16-14 win.
"We really battled back," Garvin said.
The coach attributed the win to "strong solid defense by Hanna Ludwig and consistent play off the bench by Brittany Curtis in crucial situations."
A 2-1 victory over Round Valley Sept. 7 in Wilson Dome upped the Horns' record to 3-0 and turned into a premonition of things to come.
Like the team did days later in Show Low, the Rim jayvees won the first game, faltered in the second and rallied to win the third.
Garvin labeled the seesaw, nail-biting triumph a "great team effort" while citing "strong aggressive offense from middle hitters Jocie Gressley and Sarah Meyocks."
The coach also had plaudits for Ludwig and Brooke McRae, both of whom provided solid play at the outside hitter positions.
Laura Hatch and RaeAnn Burba were acknowledged for "excellent play off the bench."
The Lady Horns' victory streak this season also includes 2-0 triumphs Sept. 2 at Globe and Aug. 31 in Chino Valley.
In Globe, the Horns won 15-7 and 15-4. Against Chino, Payson survived 15-10 and 15-11.