A split of a doubleheader with the homestanding Page Sand Devils dropped the Lady Longhorn volleyball team's Grand Canyon region record to 3-3.
The team opened the season with a 2-0 mark but has since lost hard-fought, close matches to regional tough guys Sinagua and Coconino.
Against Page, Payson opened with a 25-20 victory but then dropped a 25-12 decision.
"Those were Jekyll-and-Hyde type games," rookie coach Arnold Stonebrink said. "In the first game, we played really well but in the second we fell apart, the hitting was horrible and we were very inconsistent."
In the third game, however, the Lady Horns rallied 25-7 to nail down the match victory.
"We were back on track with our hitting and our passing was superb," Stonebrink said.
The coach praised middle hitter Britney Owens for her stellar play at the net which included nine kills on 18 attempts and three errors. Sarah Donovan and Rikki Ray also drew praise for their hitting.
"As a team, our hitting average was .193 which I consider very, very good," Stonebrink said.
Haylee Huff served five aces and Rotasha Marshall had two.
In game one of match two, the Horns suffered a huge setback when Donovan rolled her ankle and could not continue.
At the time, Payson was trailing 21-19 but in the midst of a strong rally.
"Without Sarah, we had to scramble our lineup," Stonebrink said. The Lady Horns eventually fell 25-21.
In the second game, Stonebrink again tinkered with the lineup attempting to find the best possible combination of players.
"Rotasha subbed for Sarah and did a good job," Stonebrink said.
Although the Lady Horns lost 25-22, Marshall finished with five kills in 12 attempts and no errors.
"Page elevated their play and we played very admirably," he said.
Playing a twin bill on the road after a five-hour bus trip and without one of the team's starters was a difficult situation, Stonebrink said.
In junior varsity action, Page won the first match (2-1) but lost the second by the identical tally. In first-match action, Payson lost the opening game 25-21 but won the second 25-19. Page took the rubber game 25-12.
Second-match play saw the Lady Horns win the first, 26-24, and the third games 17-15. Payson lost the second, 25-14.
The Lady Horns play host to Flagstaff Oct. 12 in Wilson Dome. Game times are 4 p.m. (freshmen), 5 p.m. (jayvee) and 6 p.m. (varsity).