For Lady Longhorn soccer team members, last night's (Thursday) awards ceremony marked the culmination of a season (8-10-1) that ended with a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to Page.
What made the defeat tough to take was that the Lady Horns had opportunities to win in regulation, but couldn't take advantage.
After a pair of 10-minute overtimes, the game remained scoreless. In a shoot-out that followed the extra periods, Payson converted its first goal attempt but misfired on the next three. Two were blocked and one was deflected off the crossbar.
Page shooters wrapped up a trip to state by hitting two shot attempts.
"One shot -- it was a tough way to be eliminated," coach Randy Wilcox said. "It was an emotional loss."
At the awards ceremony, senior Amy Wilcox carted off the "Top Gun" award that goes to the team's most prolific scorer. During the campaign, she scored 18 goals and was the team captain. In her four-year soccer career, she scored more than 50 goals. In addition to the team award, her exploits earned her a berth on the Grand Canyon All-Region first team. The star squad was selected in a voting of coaches at the conclusion of the season.
Goalie Brenna Zumbro also was chosen to the all-region first team. She added to that honor, the team's Stopper Award for being the top defender.
"You just don't find them any tougher than her," coach Wilcox said.
Grand Canyon honorable mention went out to Jessica Coleman.
As a forward for the Lady Longhorns, she was known for her speed and elusiveness.
"She led a lot of fast breaks that cleared the middle and opened up scoring opportunities for us," coach Wilcox said. "Although she played offense, there were times I asked her to go on defense too."
For the coach, the special award of the evening was the sportsmanship citation that went to Lori Wing.
"It's voted on by the players, so it means a lot," he said.
The coach summed up the season by saying "it was a pretty good one for our first in Class 4A."
Among the adjustments the players had to make playing in the 4A conference, was the winter season and the colder Northern Arizona weather. In the 3A conference, of which Payson was formerly a member, soccer is played in the warmer fall season.