As if he were watching a 1950s era western movie, Lady Longhorn soccer coach Randy Wilcox is anticipating the Cavalry will soon charge to the rescue.
In Wilcox's scenario, the Cavalry is the junior varsity team.
Varsity reinforcements became a necessity Monday morning when the coach learned that two of his starting players will no longer be with the team.
Junior forward Krista LaHaye is sidelined the remainder of the campaign by a knee injury suffered Friday in a Moon Valley tournament game against Sunnyslope.
Lori Shepherd, a junior defender, had to quit the team to attend after-school college classes.
Prior to losing LaHaye and Shepherd, the Lady Horns had just two varsity substitutes.
Now, the bench is emptier than a school teacher's wallet.
After mulling over his options, Wilcox decided to meet with his coaching staff and decide which jayvee players could be moved to varsity.
Since the jayvee team also is undermanned, pirating any of its players could mean the death of the junior varsity program.
"There's some tough decisions to make," Wilcox said.
To the Moon
Although the news hasn't been cheery for the coach, he was encouraged by the team's respectable showing in the Moon Valley tournament Dec. 29 to Jan. 2.
Over the course of the fray, the Lady Horns posted a 2-1-1 record. After leaping to a 2-0 start with a 5-0 victory over Carl Hayden and a 3-0 triumph over Page, the Lady Horns lost 2-1 to host Moon Valley. In the tournament finale, Payson languished 1-1 against Sunnyslope.
No extra period was played in the tie because it was an invitational tournament game rather than the regular or postseason.
In the win over Carl Hayden, senior Amy Wilcox paced the offense with 11 shots, two goals and one assist. Jessica Coleman, Michelle Wing and LaHaye scored a single goal each.
Although the Payson offense was firing on all cylinders, it was the defense that drew praise from the coach. "Our defense held them to just two shots," Wilcox said. "That's outstanding."
Against Page, a Grand Canyon Region opponent, the final score was not indicative of how hotly contested the game turned out to be.
"It was very even," Wilcox said. "We outshot them only 15-14."
The victory marked the emergence of junior attacking midfielder Kelsea Palace as an offensive threat. After being held scoreless the entire year, Palace came out of nowhere to score all three Payson goals.
Brenna Zumbro, Lori Wing and Coleman also turned in stellar showings.
Zumbro, the PHS goalie, chalked up six saves. Wing and Coleman both had an assist.
Palace continued her offensive prowess in the tie with Moon Valley, scoring Payson's only goal.
Late in the game, Moon Valley enjoyed a stroke of good fortune scoring the winning point on a penalty kick assessed after Payson fouled in the box.
In the loss, Payson was outshot 22-12.
"They also had 14 corner kicks and we had just four," Wilcox said. "That's a huge difference."
In the tie with Sunnyslope, Katie Plumb tallied the Lady Horns' single goal on an assist from Coleman.
Although Payson outshot Sunnyslope 16-8, the Lady Horns couldn't cash in on the attempts. "We had a couple real good chances to score, but didn't finish them off," Wilcox said.
Defensively, Zumbro turned in a solid game as the team's goalie with four saves.
The Lady Longhorn players make their 4A conference Grand Canyon Region debut at 1 p.m. Saturday (tomorrow) in Flagstaff.
Wilcox is anticipating the homestanding Eagles will be a formidable foe.
"They are the No. 8 ranked team in the state and one of the favorites to win (the regional championship)," he said.