The Lady Longhorn volleyball team's best hopes of advancing to the Grand Canyon regional final four Oct. 30 in Chinle might hinge on beating the Coconino Panthers.
The two regional rivals sported identical 5-6 records -- and were tied for fourth place in the standings --rior to a regular season-ending match up Oct. 21 in Flagstaff (results not available at press time).
Page was 6-5 but its fortunes could change at its regular season-ending clash Oct. 21 against Grand Canyon regional champion Sinagua (10-1).
In the regional tournament, which begins Oct. 25 at the home site of the highest seed, regional champion Sinagua has a bye into the final four.
Tourney play opens with No. 2 Flagstaff hosting No. 7 Chinle; No. 6 travels to No. 3; and No. 4 hosts No. 5.
The No. 3, 4, 5 and 6 regular season finishers will be a combination of Page, Coconino, Mingus and Payson depending upon results of the Oct. 21 games and an Oct. 23 doubleheader Mingus has against Chinle.
A best case scenario for the Lady Horns would have the team winning the regular season finale against Coconino and Page falling to Sinagua.
Both Page and Payson would then be 6-6 and tied for third in the final standings.
A tie breaker --robably the two teams' overall records --ould be used to decide which team receives the third seed and which would be fourth.
If Payson received the higher seed it would host Mingus in the regional tournament opener.
If the Lady Horns were awarded the fourth seed, they would host Coconino in the first round.
The Lady Horns set the stage for the Oct. 21 finale against Coconino by sweeping Chinle in a doubleheader Oct. 16 in Wilson Dome.
Payson opened on a sour note against the regional cellar dwellers falling 25-17 in the first game.
"We were behind at one point 24-11 and managed to come back a bit," coach Arnold Stonebrink said. "But we looked awful, our hitting and passing was off most of the game."
Trailing 9-5 in the second game, the Lady Horns rallied for a 25-19 victory.
"We finally kicked it into gear," Stonebrink said.
Payson nailed down the match win with a 25-17 victory in the rubber game. Tina Jackson fueled the victory with four aces and no errors in 11 serves.
"She played very, very well," Stonebrink said.
Retosha Marshall had 15 spikes, three kills and one error.
In the second match of the twin bill, senior middle hitter Britney Owens led the Lady Horns to 25-20 and 25-17 victories. Owens finished with 14 spikes, six kills and no errors.
Stonebrink also lauded Rikki Ray for a solid game in which she finished with 15 spikes.
"Both girls (Owens and Ray) were in a zone," the coach said.
Jackson excelled serving with five aces in 12 serves and one error
Marshall tallied three aces in 10 serves and no errors.
"Finally, we were able to run the offense and it looked terrific," Stonebrink said.
In junior varsity action against Chinle, the team split their matches with the visitors. Payson lost the first game 25-23, but came roaring back to win the second 25-8. In the third, Payson won a thriller 19-17 in overtime.
In the second match, Payson lost the the first game 25-19, but won the second 25-21.
In the third, Chinle prevailed 15-11.
The freshmen won both matches.