A pair of Rim region victories over Round Valley and Snowflake have propelled the Lady Longhorn soccer team ever closer to its goal of a top-two seed in the state tournament.
The state shoot-out begins Nov. 1 at Udall Park in Tucson.
In the Lady Horns 3-0 win over Snowflake Oct. 19 at Rumsey Park, the team turned in what coach Randy Wilcox called "our best effort yet."
Following the win, he lauded the team members, saying "We passed well, saw the open players, headed the ball effectively and took some good shots."
Jessica Coleman, Lori Wing and Amy Wilcox scored for Payson.
Midfielders Jenny Cohen and Kelsea Palace played the role of playmakers, distributing the ball to the scorers, coach Wilcox said.
The coach also praised a stingy defense that was anchored by Lori Shepherd, Hailee Byler, Trista Carlton and Laura Crabtree.
"They were tough," he said. "They kept (goal) keeper Kody Kepp from having to make a lot of saves."
Payson outshot Snowflake 31-12.
The coach abandoned his tradition of naming a single player of the game and instead tapped the entire team for the honor.
The victory over the Lobos capped a two-week stand, also the school's fall break, in which Payson played five road games.
The win also kept the Lady Horns home record (3-0) unblemished.
In a 1-0 win over Round Valley Oct. 16 in Eagar, Palace scored the Lady Horns' only goal, tallying the game winner midway through the second half.
Senior Trista Carlton was named player of the game for her defensive contributions.
"She saved the game for us," the coach said.
"She cleaned up a lot of our mistakes."