Lady Horns Take Over First In Region

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The Lady Longhorns kicked off the 2004 volleyball campaign with a pair of 2-1 victories over Flagstaff and Mingus. With a 2-0 regional record, Payson is currently tied with Flagstaff Sinagua for the league lead.

The two Grand Canyon leaders were set to clash Tuesday, but the match was postponed until Wednesday. Game time is 6 p.m. in Wilson Dome.

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Lady Longhorn volleyball team members include (front row, left to right) Jadyn Walden, Haylee Huff, Britney Owens, (second row) Tina Jackson, Retosha Marshall, Rikki Ray, Brooke Cannon, (back row) Celena DeSchaff, Sara Donovan, Brandy Whomble and coach Arnold Stonebrink.

According to PHS athletic director Dave Bradley, Sinagua officials asked the game date be changed because they had a school function Tuesday evening that required all students be present.

In the Lady Horns Sept. 14 win over homestanding Mingus, Payson lost the first game 25-18, but rallied for 25-20 and 25-15 victories to salvage the match.

In the opening game loss, Payson fell behind 18-6 and were struggling with their teamwork.

"We looked like a mess out there on the floor," coach Arnold Stonebrink said.

Seeing his team needed a lift, Stonebrink substituted Celena DeSchaff and Retosha Marshall in the lineup.

"They gave us a great boost," Stonebrink said. "They set the tone and provided the spark we needed."

DeSchaff finished with four kills in nine attempts and did not have an error. Marshall had four kills in 10 attempts.

"Both were terrific," Stonebrink said.

The rookie coach said the win was a real confidence booster because it was chalked up over a very good opponent, was the region opener and came on the road where victories can be hard to come by.

Two days after the win at Mingus, the Lady Horns traveled to Flagstaff where they pounded out a victory over an Eagle team that finished second at the Payson Invitational Tournament, won the Sinagua Mustang Invitational and was state ninth-ranked.

"They started off the season on a roll," Stonebrink said.

In Thursday's match, the Lady Horns won the first game 25-23, lost the second 25-16 and took the rubber game by a 25-18 count.

Stonebrink credited the Lady Horns' standout serving for the victory.

"We were successful on 89 percent of our serves. That's pretty good," he said.

The coach also cited Sarah Donovan for her stellar performance at the net.

"She was our No. 1 hitter," he said. "In 12 (spike) attempts, she had six kills and just one error. She was a big reason we won."

The coach also praised Rikki Ray and Britney Owens for their serve receiving that helped put the dampers on the Eagle offense.

Wednesday's showdown against Sinagua will be preceded by freshman (4 p.m. ) and junior varsity games (5 p.m.)

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