The Rim Country Middle School Maverick volleyball team played its way to a second-place finish at the White Mountain League championship tournament Dec. 14 in Lakeside.
After tying Snowflake and Winslow for the WML regular season title, the Mavs advanced to the tournament as a top-three seed.
In the tournament's first match, the Lady Mavs beat Show Low 15-4. In the second game, RCMS was beaten 17-15. The girls bounced back to win the rubber game 15-7.
With the 2-1 match triumph, the Lady Mavs advanced to the second round against a Heber Mogollon team that had earlier this season given RCMS fits in the Payson Invitational Tournament.
Most of the difficulty the Mavs experienced centered around finding ways to slow Mogollon's 6-foot, 2-inch middle hitter.
This time out, the Mustangs, and their talented hitter, were no match for RCMS. Twin wins by 15-8 and 15-6 measures sent the Lady Mavs into the tournament finals against rival Snowflake.
In a first-game 15-6 loss, the Mavericks showed signs of fatigue, Shelli Creighton said.
"After a long day, we lacked energy," he said. "We were tired."
RCMS gave the Lobos a tougher test in the second game, but came up just short, 15-13.
Although the team was disappointed in not attaining its goal of a WML crown, Creighton praised the squad's season-long effort.
"I am extremely proud of my girls," she said. "They have the skill and the heart to beat anyone."
The coach also cited several players for their outstanding performances in the tournament.
Caitlin Fruth and Brooke Cannon drew praise for their serving abilities. Tori Wilbanks was cited for dominating at the net.
Although the Mavs were defeated twice this year by Snowflake -- once in the regular season and again in the tournament -- the coach is confident her players can hold their own against the tradition-rich Lobos.
"Snowflake, watch out next year because they are coming after you," she said.