Lady Horns Learn Lumberjack Way

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Aspiring members of the next edition of the Lady Longhorn volleyball team spent the week learning to do it the Lumberjack way.

The techniques, strategies and methods the Northern Arizona University netters tackle the sport with were taught to about 20 PHS hopefuls in daily sessions at Wilson Dome.

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Learning to set and return serves was one of the skills taught at the NAU volleyball camp in Wilson Dome.

Coach Arnold Stonebrink said the NAU camp was an overwhelming success, saying his charges profited from the collegiate experience of the NAU staff.

"The girls progressed, worked hard and learned a lot," he said.

The camp was a part of an ambitious summer training program Stonebrink has put together.

In addition to last week's camp and another later this month, the team tunes up twice a week during open gym sessions and travels the state participating in off-season tournaments.

The squad's most recent outing was a July 1 and 2 fray at Blue Ridge High School in Pinetop-Lakeside.

In opening round pool play, the Rim crew compiled an 8-0 record chalking up two wins each over Show Low, Holbrook, Miami and Blue Ridge B.

"Things went quite well in pool play," Stonebrink said. "We used it as an opportunity to experiment and move players around to different positions."

As the No. 1 ranked team from pool A, Payson advanced to second-day play against other pool championships.

In the opening matches, Payson split with Blue Ridge A and Fountain Hills before dropping a pair of decisions to Florence.

A loss to Snowflake eventually dropped Payson into the loser's bracket where the Rim team stayed alive by besting Round Valley and Holbrook. Those wins set up a showdown against the host Yellow Jackets.

After splitting the first two games of the match, the two longtime rivals from the 3A East region locked horns in a rubber game to 11 points.

Payson fell behind early 9-4 but battled back to tie the score at 10-10. Blue Ridge, however, rallied to score the winning point and stake claim to the hard-fought victory.

With the loss, Payson fell to fifth in the overall team standings.

The loss to the Jackets, as tough as it was to absorb, didn't dampen Stonebrink's enthusiasm for his team.

"I was pleased with our success," he said. "It's the best we've done in that tournament."

Payson also entered a B (junior varsity) team, coached by Judy Perham, in the tournament.

Just two weeks earlier at the Miami Invitational tournament, the B squad proved it could compete against varsity squads by winning the consolation bracket championship.

In pool play at Blue Ridge, the B team compiled a 3-5 to earn a tie for second place.

In second day play, the Rim jayvees beat St. Johns and Alchesay before splitting with Joseph City, Marana and Duncan.

"The B team finished third in the consolation bracket and played very well against A teams," Stonebrink said. "These young girls coming up have a lot of enthusiasm and talent. Our future is bright."

Next on the agenda for the summer hardwood squad is a positional camp July 22 and 23 in Phoenix.

"It will be put on by Brigham Young University," Stonebrink said.

Also, Stonebrink has slated a team camp for Aug. 1-5 in Wilson Dome. The coach encourages all prospective players to attend the camp so they can condition and learn the nuances and methods the Lady Longhorns will use next season.

Tryouts for the freshmen, junior varsity and varsity teams will be Aug. 8-10, also in Wilson Dome.

For more information, call Stonebrink at (928) 474-2233.

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