Regional Honors Ignored In All-State Designations

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Lady Longhorn volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink's assessment of a trio of his best players is much more glowing than the one doled out by the Arizona Republic sports staff.

In naming the Class 1A-3A all-state teams Nov. 20, the staff did not include Payson's Sarah Donovan, Brooke Cannon or Brittany Moore on either the first, second or honorable mention teams.

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Sarah Donovan was one of three Lady Longhorns to be named to the All-East Region first team.

From the 3A East, the staff did select Snowflake's senior setter Chantel Godfrey for second team and included Misty Caldwell (Snowflake) and Rikki London (Blue Ridge) on the honorable mention list.

Just weeks prior to the announcement of the all-state team, Donovan, Cannon and Moore were named All-East first team in a voting of coaches.

Stonebrink is adamant his three athletes are as good as any in the state.

About Donovan, he said, "the last half of the season she played very consistently, and a few times displayed great dominance in her spiking.

"She saved her most outstanding play for the regional tournament which led to our third place finish and a berth in the state tournament."

Stonebrink described Cannon as the team's quarterback who "was orchestrating plays that most other team's didn't try."

He also characterized her as "a hard worker and great team player; perhaps the most competitive player I have ever coached,"

Although Cannon is one of the state's finest setters, Stonebrink says she "doesn't rest on her laurels, she always works very hard to improve her game."

Stonebrink lauds Moore as "an energetic spark plug who also is a terrific passer.

"Having her in the back row 90 percent of the matches and 100 percent of the time for serve receiving, really strengthened our digging and passing."

Moore, who transferred to PHS from Safford last summer, arrived in the Rim Country at the same time the "libero" rule was instituted in high school volleyball.

The new rule allowed Moore to play the position and remain on the back role.

"It made it that much more difficult for teams to defeat us with their serving," Stonebrink said.

With the prep season at an end, the Payson trio will continue to hone their court skills during the offseason on club teams.

Donovan and Moore are members of a newly formed Payson team and Cannon competes with a Mesa-based squad.

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