The Payson High School volleyball teams endured tough losses on the road this week, but not before serving up one of the toughest volleys of the year for their Round Valley rivals.
Coming off a win in Globe last week, the Lady Horns traveled to Round Valley with confidence and determination ... determination that carried them to an early lead as they came out of the gate swinging, spiking their way to an early 10-0 lead.
The first game would witness Round Valley struggling to catch up but to no avail, as the girls would prevail with a score of 15-3.
In the second of the three-game match, Payson began to struggle with passing, suddenly finding themselves down 7-0. The great defense for which Payson is well known helped the team struggle back.
"Brandi Waugh and Rachel Ray both played great on defense and really hustled," Coach Sue Weems said.
The two teams kept the battle going until Round Valley finally took the two-point lead, capturing the win with a final score of 18-16.
The third and final game of the match saw Payson slowing considerably.
"I think that second game really took us down both physically and emotionally and, as a result, we just couldn't come back in the third game," Weems said.
Round Valley won the game with a final score of 15-9, thus clinching the match.
Despite the loss, Weems said she's looking for the Payson varsity girls to continue to be a tough act to follow.
"I have an outstanding team," She said. "Players like Sam Ellsworth and Rachel Ray are doing a great job and we have strong hitters all the way around. We really don't have any weak positions."
On the JV court
In junior varsity action, the story is much the same. In the match against Round Valley, Brooke Bennett served five consecutive points, but it would not be enough as Payson was handed a 15-8 loss.
In the second game, Payson's determination came shining through, taking an early 7-2 lead.
"Brooke McRae had some great blocks and really shut them down at the net," Weems said. That aggressive play would lead Lady Horns to the win in the second game with a final score of 15-8.
In much the same fashion as in the varsity match, the rubber game saw the Lady Horns trying to tame a tenacious and determined Round Valley squad. The girls attempted to battle back from an early Round Valley lead, but were unable to regain control, losing the game 15-6.
The JV girls are fighting some injuries with a number of their players. Payson did have two players return from injuries.
"Carilyn Flake and Katie Carpenter both are setters and we're really glad to have them back from injuries, and they're looking very strong," Weems said.
In freshmen action, the coach said, "We had trouble getting warmed up and Round Valley took advantage of that."
The freshmen girls lost the first game with a score of 15-5 but would regain control in the second.
"The girls really started communicating and passing well and Hillary Hardt served five consecutive points, giving us the 15-11 win," Weems said.
Not unlike the older girls teams, the freshmen struggled with defense in the third game, giving it to Round Valley with a final score of 15-4.
Coach Weems said the freshmen girls are a team to watch for.
"This is definitely one of the strongest freshmen teams Payson has had," she said. "They are really strong."
This was the their first loss, bringing the girls to season record thus far of 2-1.
The Payson volleyball teams will go to work on the hard court against 18 other teams at the Payson Invitational tournament.