Fifth-Place Lady Horns Could Face Alchesay

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If the postseason scenario unfolds similar to the regular season, the Lady Longhorn volleyball team will open regional tournament action as the fifth-place East finisher against No. 6 Alchesay.

The East region tournament is set for Nov. 2 in Wilson Dome.

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Lady Longhorns Hillari Hardt (No. 9) and Britney Owens (No. 3) go up for a block at the net while setter Shea Hatch (No. 2) prepares for a return. Action took place in an East region game against the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets. Payson returns to play at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 19 in the Fountain Hills Invitational.

Currently, the Lady Longhorns are alone in fifth place behind league-leading Snowflake, runner-up Blue Ridge, third place Round Valley and Show Low.

Alchesay trails in the six-team region standings.

If the Lady Horns do clash with Alchesay in the region tournament opener, it would be a do-or-die meeting.

For the loser, the 2002 campaign would be over. The winner of the 5 versus 6 game would advance to a single elimination tournament against the regular season runner-up. Also in the tournament first round, No. 5 would play No. 2, No. 4 would take on No. 3. The East champion would have a first-round bye, PHS athletic director Dave Bradley said.

After the first round, a single elimination tournament would be played.

The top four finishers in the tournament would earn the right to participate in the Class 3A state tournament set for Nov. 9 at Phoenix Greenway High School.

In regular season action, the Lady Horns received a preview of what the Falcons have in their court arsenal Oct. 3 in Whiteriver.

After dominating the opening game 15-4, the Lady Horns lost the second 15-6. In the all-important rubber match, Payson edged out a 15-12 victory.

In another East region showdown contested Oct. 1 in Round Valley, the Lady Horns fell 15-5 in the first game but rebounded to win the second 15-7. In the third, RV prevailed by a 15-13 margin.

Oct. 8 in Wilson Dome against Blue Ridge, the Lady Horns were no match for Blue Ridge, losing 15-5 and 15-0.

In the two-game loss, the Lady Horns had to play without the services of setter Haylee Huff who injured her ankle in a pickup basketball game.

Without Huff in coach Chris Schwind's two-setter offense, junior Shea Hatch had to handle all of the setting chores.

"That was tough for her, but she picked it up," Schwind said.

The coach also cited outside hitter Staci School who, she said, "is hitting very well."

The underclassmen

In junior varsity action against Blue Ridge, the Lady Longhorns lost the first game 15-6 and won the second 15-10. In the deciding game, Payson fell 15-13.

The PHS freshmen lost 16-14 and 15-13.

Against Alchesay, the PHS jayvees lost 15-6 but recovered one game later to win a 15-7 decision. In the finale, Payson fell 15-8.

The freshmen won back-to-back games by identical 15-12 scores.

Against Round Valley, the junior varsity lost the first and third games 15-7 and 15-10, but won the second 15-7.

The Payson freshman team lost 15-2 and 15-5.

The Lady Horns return to action at 9 a.m. Oct. 19 in the Fountain Hills Invitational. An eight-team round robin will be played throughout the day.

East action resumes Oct. 22 in Wilson Dome against Alchesay. Game times are 4:30 p.m. (freshman), 5:30 p.m. (jayvee) and 6:30 p.m. (varsity).

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