Fresh off a runner-up showing in the consolation bracket of the Payson Invitational Volleyball Tournament, the Lady Longhorns returned to the court Sept. 6 to dump homestanding Estrella Foothills 2-1.
Payson opened with a 26-24 victory then dropped the second 25-21 before rebounding to win the rubber game 25-17.
Following the team's return to Payson, coach Arnold Stonebrink pinpointed serve-receiving as a team shortfall.
"They had some deadly servers and we had a rough time receiving," he said. "Their serves had a lot of movement, some were bullets, others floated and some dipped."
The tough serving Payson faced turned evident in the first game when the Foothills squad jumped on to an early 6-1 lead and at one time built a 21-15 cushion.
"Then there was a side out and Brooke (Cannon) brought us back with six straight service winners," Stonebrink said.
Following Cannon's onslaught, the two teams battled to a 24-24 deadknot before Payson scored the final two points to nail down the win.
In the second game, Payson trailed throughout and could never muster the offense to overcome Estrella's early lead.
Third game action saw the Lady Horns fall behind 12-8, prompting Jade Heglie and Cannon to rally the team with several serving aces.
Stonebrink also cited strong setting by Ashley Anesin and Cannon as keys to the come-from-behind win.
Additionally, Lady Horns junior outside hitter Tori Wilbanks was a force at the net, chalking up eight kills. Middle hitter Sarah Donovan, a Payson Invitational all-tournament selection finished with seven kills.
Dominating at the net was nothing new for Payson's dynamic duo -- during the playing of the invitational Sept. 2 and 3 Donovan and Wilbanks combined for 77 kills.
Other standouts at the net against Estrella Foothills were Jadyn Walden (six kills) and Sierra Sommars (five).
As a team, the Lady Horns made good on 91 percent of their serves, which, Stonebrink said "was a big bonus, it helped overcome our poor serve receiving."
In junior varsity action, the Lady Horns lost the first game 25-21 but came roaring back to take the next two, 25-20 and 16-14.
The freshmen breezed to 25-12 and 25-9 victories.
The Lady Horns returned to action Sept. 8 in the Wilson dome against Holbrook. (Results were not available at press time).
The team travels to Flagstaff Sept. 10 to participate in the Coconino Invitational.