The Payson High School varsity volleyball team found vindication Tuesday as they again encountered one of the two division teams that defeated them earlier in the season.
However, the win against Round Valley didn't come easy.
Despite a season which now boasts six division wins and only two losses, Payson has struggled in the past with communication and teamwork. The focused look of determination on their faces as they took the court exemplified their intention to dominate this match.
Payson took an early lead in the best of three matches, defeating RV 15 to 13. The close score summed up the battle as the lead went back and forth throughout the game.
Superior defense at the net and numerous spikes hit hard enough to drive nails home proved to be the winning element which carried Payson to the early victory.
In second-game action, it appeared all communication stopped as the RV Elks stretched out a lead that the Lady Horns would not recover from. The Elks evened the match score with the 15-8 win.
One can only imagine the pep talk that took place prior to the Lady Horns' third game against the Elks. The Lady Horns returned to the net with a much more focused look.
The score went back and forth more than a politician in an election year. Late in the game, when you might expect fatigue to be a factor, Payson girls began a rally which quickly had a demoralizing effect on RV. The last minutes of the game belonged solely to Payson as they fought ahead to end the game 15-10, clinching the match victory.
Coach Sue Weems said this win was a sweet one.
"We were wanting to beat Round Valley because we should have beat them in our first go around earlier in the year," she said. "We are really just a better team than they are.
"In the second game, we got down and had a lack of communication but turned the defense back on in the third," the coach said. "We just started communicating better and attacking the ball."
The junior varsity team had much the same experience with Round Valley as they dropped their first game 15 to 13, but hung in to take the last two games 15-3 and 15-12, thus taking the match.
The freshmen were not as lucky, with RV quickly routing them 15-11 and 15-2 for a quick finish to that match.
The Lady Longhorns hit the road yesterday with matches in Show Low (scores were not available at press time) and then on to Alchesay Tuesday.