The Flagstaff Coconino Volleyball Invitational Tournament gave Lady Horn coach Arnold Stonebrink an opportunity to evaluate his players against two of the schools Payson will battle for the Grand Canyon region title. The 12-team fray, which also drew several Class 3A schools, was contested Sept. 11 at Coconino High School.
In Payson's games against GC opponents, the Lady Horns split a two-game match with Coconino, but lost a single game to Page.
Against Coconino in the final round of tournament-opening pool play, Payson lost the first game 25-23, but rebounded to take the second 25-22.
The 25-22 loss to Page occurred in the loser's bracket of the tournament and eliminated Payson from further play.
This season against regional opponents Flagstaff, Page, Chinle and Coconino, the Lady Horns have posted a 5-4 record.
"We've beaten everyone of those teams and we've lost to all of them," Stonebrink said.
In addition to facing GC opponents in the Panther tournament, the Horns took two games from Sedona and Holbrook, whipped Chino Valley in a single contest, but lost a three-game match to Camp Verde.
For the tournament, Payson finished with a 7-4 record and in seventh place.
Against Sedona in the opening round of pool play, the Lady Horns posted back-to-back 25-17 victories. In the second round against Holbrook, Stonebrink gave his substitutes plenty of playing time in 25-19 and 25-13 victories.
After securing a No. 1 seed in pool play with a 5-1 record, Payson fell to Camp Verde in the first round of the double elimination tournament. In the opener, CV prevailed 25-23, but Payson reversed its fortunes to win the second game 25-23.
In the tie breaker, the Lady Horns stumbled 15-7.
"That was our worst game of the tournament," Stonebrink said.
The loss dropped Payson into loser's bracket where the team rallied for a 25-21 win over Chino Valley. They were later eliminated by the loss to Page.
Following the team's return to Payson, Stonebrink said senior middle hitter Britney Owens play outstanding at the net.
"Her hitting percentage was close to .300. She did a fabulous job," he said.
The coach also praised the other team members for a spirited effort but admitted "we do have some things to work on."
The Lady Horns were in action Thursday night at Flagstaff High School. (Results not available at press time.)
Grand Canyon regular season play resumes Sept. 21 when the Sinagua Mustangs visit Wilson Dome. Game times are 4 p.m. (freshmen), 5 p.m. (junior varsity) and 6 p.m. (varsity).