Payson Hosts Regional Volleyball Tourney

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Winning the 3A East region volleyball championship will be much easier for a team that garners a one or two seed.

Both seeds, which will go to the top two teams in regular season play, will receive first round byes in the East regional tournament when it is played Oct. 29 in Wilson dome.

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The Lady Longhorn volleyball team will host the Class 3A east regional tournament this year. The fray will be contested Oct. 29 in Wilson dome. The top four teams from the tournament will advance to the state finals to be played Nov. 4 at Glendale Arena.

Also, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds will only have to win two games to stake claim to the tournament championship.

For a six or seven seed to win the tournament crown, it will take four consecutive victories.

The region tournament tips off at 9:30 a.m. when No. 7 takes on No. 6.

Games will also be played at:

  • 10:45 a.m., No. 4 vs. No. 5
  • Noon, Winner of 6 vs. 7 against No. 3
  • 2:30 p.m., Winner of 4 vs. 5 against No. 1
  • 3:45 p.m., Winner of 7, 6 and 3 against No. 2
  • 5 p.m., Losers of third round games play for third and fourth.
  • 6:15 p.m., The two undefeated teams play for the East championship.

The top four teams earn berths to the 3A state tournament that will begin Nov. 4 at Glendale Arena and wrap up the following day.

The East state qualifiers are pitted in the first round against the South region. From each region, No. 1 plays No. 4 and No. 2 takes on No. 3.

On to state

The goal of the Lady Longhorns all season has been to wrap up East play among the top four and earn a berth in the state tournament.

A mid-season surge -- in which Coach Arnold Stonebrink's charges won three consecutive region games and avenged a disappointing early season loss to Holbrook -- lifted the Lady Horns into a tie for third in the standings.

"I am very happy with the play of the girls," Stonebrink said. "They are continuing to improve skill-wise and to grow mentally tougher and more mature."

In Wilson dome Oct. 6, the winning streak came to a halt with a narrow 2-1 loss to the undefeated and region-leading Snowflake Lobos.

In the defeat, however, the Lady Horns might have gained a much-needed boost of confidence.

"The match indicated Payson can play competitively with Snowflake," Stonebrink said. "This bodes well for us at the regional tournament -- I believe the match gave our girls more confidence."

The Lady Horns continued their late season charge toward a state-qualifying berth Oct. 13 with a 2-0 win over the Alchesay Falcons in Wilson dome.

Playing without the services of starting setter Brooke Cannon, who was out of state with her family, the Lady Horns put together a makeshift lineup.

"We pulled up Laci Sommars, a sophomore from jayvee, to set and we also had Brittany Moore, our starting libero, set for us," Stonebrink said. "Mollee Lee filled in at her (Moore's) spot at libero and Kyja Sommars played off-hand hitter."

The substitutes turned in outstanding efforts leading the Lady Horns to 25-11 and 25-11 victories.

Early in the match, Payson proved it had too much firepower for the Falcons to handle.

Moore, Payson's third server, dished out four aces and several other hits the Falcons couldn't return.

"The girls had a tremendous night serving," Stonebrink said. "Two-thirds of our serves were either aces, shanked by Falcon receivers or passed back as free balls."

Ashley Anesin led the team with 12 service winners and three aces. Moore finished with 11 service winners and two aces.

The Lady Horns wrap up the regular season Oct. 25 in Wilson dome against the Show Low Cougars. Game times are 4:30 (freshmen), 5:30 (jayvee) and 6:30 p.m. (varsity).

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