The Lady Longhorns varsity volleyball team finished its season last weekend at the state finals, falling to Show Low in a best-of-three series. Payson was matched with a team they had experienced complete domination over earlier in the year.
"The last time we played them, we killed them in 30 minutes on their own home court," standout player Reanna Martinez said. This time around it was a different story as Show Low came to the state 3A finals with a sense of determination leading the way.
"They were really just fired up and determined," Martinez said. In fact, Show Low had its first match earlier in the day and were already warmed up when they hit the court against Payson. "They were ready to play and we just weren't quite warmed up yet," Martinez said.
In the first game against Show Low, Payson came out sluggish, struggled with passing and missed a number of serves.
"We just weren't putting balls away," Martinez said. As a result, Show Low took the first game easily.
The second game played like a re-run of the last match with Show Low as Payson overwhelmed the Cougars. Payson made quick work of Show Low, finishing the game 15-4.
"We started passing well and making our serves and we found their holes hitting the people who couldn't pass well," Martinez said.
The third and final game of the match was a strange mix of the first two. Both teams started out playing neck-and-neck volleyball. Show Low pulled ahead bringing the score to 11-4. Show Low increased their score to 14 and with the next point riding on the match Payson rallied back.
The rally saw Payson tear a huge hole out of the lead Show Low had fought hard to keep. Payson came all the way back to 14-12 when their season came to an abrupt end; Show Low won 15-12.