Lady Horns Debut Today At Independence

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The Lady Longhorn volleyball team's starting lineup for today's (Tuesday) season opener against Glendale Independence probably won't be decided until just before game time. Tipoff is 6 p.m. at Independence High School.

Before coach Chris Schwind makes her final roster decisions, she will sort through the results of early season practices and an Aug. 29 scrimmage in Lakeside Blue Ridge.

The preseason scrimmage against Blue Ridge produced mixed results, Schwind said. "We had our good moments and we had some that were not so good."

During the preseason showdown, no score was kept but the two teams battled through four, 20-point games in which coaches substituted freely.

"We wanted to try out some different rotations and combinations," Schwind said.

Schwind does have at her beck and call a pair of veteran setters in Haylee Huff and Shea Hatch.

Both starred on last year's team and are expected to form the nucleus of this season's squad. Other veterans include middle hitters Hillary Hardt and Britney Owens as well as outside hitters Staci Scholl and Rikki Ray.

Varsity newcomers expected to contribute to the Horn cause are Tina Jackson, Celena Deschaaf, Retosha Marshall and Whitney Heizer. Although junior Brenna Zumbro has not played volleyball since she was in middle school, her exceptional athletic ability could lead to playing time.

The Lady Longhorns make their home debut tomorrow (Wednesday) at 6 p.m. against the Apache Junction Prospectors. The game will be preceded by freshmen (4 p.m.) and junior varsity (5 p.m.) clashes. All three games are in Wilson Dome.

The volleyball highlight of the early season will be the annual Payson Invitational to be contested Sept. 5 and 6 in Wilson Dome.

This year, because Payson has moved to the 4A conference Grand Canyon Region, the tournament has attracted for the first time all the GR schools -- Flagstaff Coconino, Flagstaff Sinagua, Flagstaff, Mingus, Chinle and Page.

Snowflake and Fountain Hills, a pair of the teams that have traditionally played well in the tournament in past years, have dropped out.

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