Panthers Prevail, Lady Horns Fall To Fourth

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The Lady Longhorns volleyball team has the opportunity tomorrow (Saturday) in Page to rebound from a pair of 25-21 losses to Coconino.

Tip off in the unusual doubleheader against the Sand Devils is at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

The usual home and away games were scrapped and the twin bill scheduled because of the extreme distances between the two schools.

The match loss to Coconino, Sept. 28 in Wilson Dome, dropped the Lady Horns' Grand Canyon Region record to 2-2 and the team into sole possession of fourth-place.

For the Lady Horns to attain their goal of a berth to state, they'll need to finish among the top three regional teams.

Coach Arnold Stonebrink attributed the loss to the Panthers to the Lady Horns' inability to effectively serve receive.

"Their serves were floaters and it was tough for us to return them," he said. "We shanked some (serves) and could never get going to run our offense ... It was a disappointing loss."

In junior varsity action, the Lady Horns won 25-10 and 25-20. The freshmen were victorious 25-21 and 25-19.

The Lady Horns opened the Grand Canyon campaign in impressive fashion, beating both Flagstaff and Mingus on the road.

However, losses to Coconino and Sinagua Sept. 21 in Wilson Dome have the Horns on the ropes.

Against Sinagua

Payson dropped back-to-back games 25-21 and 25-19 against Sinagua, the favorite to win the regional title.

"It was a good, tough battle," Stonebrink said. "I can live with losses if the other team beats us and we don't beat ourselves and this was a match Sinagua beat us."

The difference in the two teams most of the evening was the effective serving of the Mustangs.

"They served superbly -- only two serving errors," Stonebrink said.

The coach also cited Payson's less-than-desirable passing for the loss.

"It wasn't as crisp as it should have been," he said.

Stonebrink praised senior Rikki Ray for turning in a solid performance.

Sandwiched between the losses to the Panthers and Mustangs was a 2-0 non-region victory over the Buckeye Hawks.

Contested Sept. 23 in Wilson Dome, the Lady Horns easily disposed of the visitors 25-19 and 25-14.

"We got to play just about everyone and the girls did a fantastic job," Stonebrink said.

"The offense was just awesome and because of our good serve receiving, we were able to bump, set and spike effectively."

The coach lauded sophomore setter Brooke Cannon for her standout play.

"She was very consistent in her hitting," he said.

Following the twin bill in Page, the Horns return to Payson to host the McClintock Chargers Oct. 5 in Wilson Dome, beginning at 7 p.m.

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