Lady Longhorns Corral Mustangs

Boys bucked from contention

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The Payson High School boys and girls soccer teams opened Grand Canyon Region action two days earlier than originally anticipated.

Originally, GCR openers pitting the Longhorns against Flagstaff Sinagua were set for Jan. 12, but Sinagua officials requested bumping the games up two days.

In the clashes Monday, the Lady Horns earned a jump-start on the region race by whipping the Mustangs 2-0.

In the second game of the day, the boys team dropped a 6-0 decision to Sinagua. The young Horns, who start several freshmen, fell behind 4-0 in the first half and could never muster the offense to battle back into contention.

Sinagua's A.J. Mansene was a thorn in the Horns' side all afternoon, scoring two goals.

For the Lady Horns, Kelsey Palace opened scoring in the eighth minute with a goal off a header from Jessica Coleman's corner kick. About 25 minutes into the game, Katie Plumb added an insurance goal on a well-executed open-field play.

With a 2-0 lead in the second half, the Lady Horns turned to their defense to nail down the win.

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Katie Plumb (right) and a Sinagua opponent battle for a loose ball at midfield of Rumsey Park. Action took place in the Lady Horns' 2-0 win over the Mustangs.

"Our midfield began to dominate the flow of play, frustrating Sinagua," coach Joe Schmidt said.

The coach cited Lauren Stuart and Ciara Wholly for their exceptional defensive play.

"Both had very strong games," he said.

Sinagua played without four starters including goalkeeper K.J. Browne. Lanae Bendel, Browne's backup had eight saves. The Mustangs outshot Payson 16-10 but came up on the short end of the score.

The Lady Horns return to regional action at 2 p.m. Friday at Rumsey Park against state third-ranked Flagstaff. The game was originally to be played Jan. 8 but was postponed due to inclement weather. Grand Canyon action continues at 11 a.m. Saturday at Rumsey Park against Page.

Schmidt said he anticipates the Lady Horns will be shorthanded in the games.

"We will be starting several less experienced players because of a ski club trip (to Purgatory, Colo.)," he said.

The boys team returns to play at 4 p.m. Friday against Flagstaff and 1 p.m. Saturday against Page.

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