Calling the Lady Longhorn volleyball team's performance in a 2-1 loss to Mingus Oct. 7, "disappointing and lackluster," coach Arnold Stonebrink will try to rally his players for four final regular season matches.
The crucial stretch run begins today, Oct. 12 in Wilson Dome against the Flagstaff Eagles. The results of that clash and matches vs. Sinagua (Oct. 14) and a double-header versus Chinle (Oct. 16) will determine whether the Lady Horns attain their preseason goal of a top three Grand Canyon Region finish and the resulting berth into the 4A tournament.
What made the loss to visiting Mingus most disappointing was that the Lady Horns traveled to Mingus Sept. 14 and manhandled the Marauders on their home floor.
In Wilson Dome, Payson shined in the first quarter overcoming an early 5-0 Mingus lead on the way to a relatively easy 25-15 triumph.
"We played very consistent and there were no hitting errors," Stonebrink said.
In the second game, the Lady Horns turned to what the coach has in the past called a "Jekyll-and-Hyde" act.
Playing exactly opposite of the efficient way they had in the first game, the Lady Longhorns fell 25-14.
"We were absolutely horrible," Stonebrink said. "We didn't have the aggressiveness we needed and we were letting balls fall that shouldn't have fallen."
With the loss, hopes rested on the outcome of the third match.
After falling behind early because of what Stonebrink called more lackluster play, the Horns rallied to tie the game 20-20. Mingus quickly called a time out in an effort to rally their cause. The Marauders went on to score five consecutive points and win the rubber game 25-20.
"Our No. 1 disappointment is that the back row acted like they didn't want the ball," Stonebrink said.
Although the loss was a huge disappointment, the coach did praise Haylee Huff, Retosha Marshall and Brooke Cannon for their efforts.
"Haylee played quite well. She was very focused," he said.
Cannon finished with two kills in 10 attempts and no errors.
Marshall had four kills in 12 attempts and Huff served two of Payson's four aces.
In junior varsity action, Payson won the first game 25-19, but lost the final two 26-24 and 15-8. The freshmen won the first 25-15, but then lost 25-20 and 15-12.
Grand Canyon Standings
Oct. 12 Matches
Chinle at Sinagua
Coconino at Mingus
Flagstaff at Payson
Oct. 14 Matches
Coconino at Flagstaff
Payson at Sinagua
Oct. 16 Matches
Mingus at Page (2)
Chinle at Payson (2)