Shots Set For Rare Home Game

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Rim country soccer fans have the chance tomorrow (Saturday) to cheer the Payson Hot Shots in action on the team's home field.

The Hot Shots, for only the second time this soccer season, will play on the Rumsey South multipurpose field. Game time is 11 a.m. against Flagstaff.

Because the Payson team -- coached by Grant Kepp -- is entered in a 19-years-and-under Northern Arizona American Youth Softball Association league, most of its games are played in Flagstaff.

"We were able to talk one of the (Flagstaff) teams into coming here to play us," Kepp said. "I think the girls like playing at home."

The Hot Shots, which played last year in the Northern Arizona league as a 16-years-and-under team, currently sports a league leading 4-0 record. In addition to playing in the Flagstaff league, the team participated in Payson's co-ed play this spring and traveled to Tucson in early June to compete in the Grand Canyon Games. In the state game, the team finished third in its age division.

Members of the Hot Shots also must attend mandatory practice sessions two and often three times a week. On Saturdays, the players make the trek north to Flagstaff for league games.

The hours spent practicing, playing, traveling and holding down summer jobs has resulted in hectic schedules for most of the teens.

"Their dedication and their willingness to practice and work as a team is appreciated," Kepp said.

A plus of playing in the Northern Arizona league is that the players have the opportunity for a peek at their next season's competition when Payson High moves to the 4A conference Grand Canyon region.

"The girls are gaining some great experience against girls they will be facing next season," Kepp said.

When Payson was a 3A school, soccer was played during the fall season. In 4A, the sport is played in the winter months.

For tomorrow's clash, the coach is hoping Rim country fans turn out in droves to support the team.

"I'd really like to see these girls get the recognition they deserve," he said. "They are such hard workers and a pleasure to watch."

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