Posting a 2-1 record, the Lady Longhorn soccer team galloped to a fifth-place finish at the 12-team Camp Verde Cowboy Invitational Tournament.
Because total goals scored was used to select the four medal-winning teams, Payson which scored only four in the entire tournament was relegated to the also-rans.
In the fray, contested Sept. 13 and 14 at Camp Verde High School, the Lady Horns opened with a 1-0 win over Round Valley and followed it up with a 2-0 drubbing of Tucson St. Gregory.
On the second day, the Lady Horns faltered in a 2-1 loss to Sedona.
In the opening round, the Lady Horns were able to chalk up a win despite a lackluster offensive showing.
"We shot a miserable 1-for-31 from the field," coach Randy Wilcox said.
The only goal of the game was scored by sophomore Jessica Coleman. Junior varsity player Mary James, who had been brought up to the varsity for the tournament, assisted on the goal.
According to Wilcox, the Lady's defense held River Valley to six shots on goal.
Following the clash, Wilcox named Trista Carlton the player of the game.
In the win over St. Gregory, neither team could score in the first half of play.
In the second stanza, after Wilcox challenged his players to turn up the heat offensively, the Lady Horns tallied a pair of goals.
Lori Wing scored on an assist from Carlton. Minutes later, Coleman scored on a follow up of Megan Branstetter's missed shot.
Defender Laura Crabtree was named the player of the game.
Crabtree and her fellow defensive players held St. Gregory to just seven shots.
"The defense did another masterful job of shutting down an offensive threat," Wilcox said.
Against Sedona, the Longhorn offense was able to muster only 14 shots the entire game. Payson's single goal was chalked up in the second half on Carlton's corner kick.
Sedona scored in the first half on an indirect kick that was nearly blocked by goalie Kody Kepp, Wilcox said.
Sedona tallied the winning goal in the second half on a corner kick from about 10 yards away.
Carlton was named player of the game for the second time in the tournament.
The Lady Horns, now 3-2 on the season, return to action Sept. 25 against Show Low. Game time is 4 p.m. on the new Rumsey Park field. The game is preceded by a 2 p.m. junior varsity contest.
Because Wilcox is in his first year as head coach, he says he doesn't know much about the Cougars, but anticipates the team will be competitive.
Show Low and Payson are members of the same region, which means the outcome of the game will play a role in either team earning a season-ending berth into the state tournament. Wilcox also is hoping for support from local fans.
"We sure would like to see the sidelines full of Longhorn fans," he said. "That fires up the team and they seem to play at a higher level."