A 2-1 loss to the Holbrook Roadrunners wasn't the way Lady Longhorn volleyball coach Arnold Stonebrink wanted to tip off the 3A East season.
"I was very disappointed to lose, especially since it was a region match," Stonebrink said. "Hopefully the girls will regroup and be ready to play Tuesday when we travel to Snowflake for another region battle."
Game times today in Lobo gymnasium are 4:30 (freshmen) 5:30 (jayvee) and 6:30 p.m. (varsity).
In dropping the Sept. 8 decision to the visiting Roadrunners, the Lady Horns stumbled 26-24 in the first clash, won the second 25-21, but dropped the match-deciding third game 25-17.
"This was a match that got away from us," Stonebrink said. "We were behind most of the first game but managed to come back and take the overtime win. In the second game, we squandered a 22-17 lead.
In the rubber game, the Lady Horns led at one point 16-14 but seconds later could only stand and watch as the wheels came off the Payson wagon.
"We completely lost on composure and focus as Holbrook went on a 10-1 run to put it (the victory) away," Stonebrink said.
In the disappointment of defeat, the Payson coach praised Holbrook as a good passing and digging team.
"Our normally reliable hitting game was negated by (Holbrook's) back row players," he said. "Their great passing also frustrated our hitters."
As good as the Roadrunners performed, Payson might have come up with a better effort especially after soundly beating Holbrook in a summer tournament.
"I don't know if the girls thought they would easily handle Holbrook but the necessary focus wasn't there and the loss of composure soon followed," he said. "We had one play where we had no middle hitter, she mistakenly thought she was back row. On another play, we had only two serve receivers when a player thought she was in the front row."
Individually, middle hitter Sarah Donovan led the team in kills with eight. Tori Wilbanks had seven and Ashley Anesin six. Brooke Cannon fueled the team in hitting with a .600 mark and contributed 23 assists.
Anesin was the team's most effective server with 11 service winners and no misses.
Jade Heglie, Stonebrink said, was the team's most effective serve receiver.
Following the showdown in Snowflake, the Lady Horns return Sept. 15 to Wilson dome for a nonregion clash against Sedona.