Coach Tests Players At Soccer Invitational

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A four-team Pioneer Title Agency Soccer Invitational came up one squad short when St. Paul's Academy failed to show up.

"They said they thought it was next weekend," Longhorn coach Roger Wholly said.

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Patrick Karlowski (18) locks horns with two Verde Valley opponents in a battle for a loose ball.

"I don't understand the mistake. We've never changed the date (of the tournament)," athletic director Dave Bradley said.

Without St. Paul's, the three teams were forced to participate in a round robin Sept. 23 and 24 at Rumsey Park.

On opening day, the Longhorns dropped a 2-0 decision to Round Valley and fell to Verde Valley 2-1.

The next day, the Horns lost a second game to Round Valley, this time by a 4-1 margin.

The game marked the third time this season, the Elks have beaten Payson.

The Horns wrapped up tournament play with a 3-3 tie against Verde Valley.

With an 0-3-1 record, Payson finished third behind runner-up Verde Valley (1-2-1) and tournament champion Round Valley (4-0).

For Payson, all-tournament player honors were doled out to Justin Wright, Justin Shuman and Aaron Loeffler.

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PHS sophomore Issac Cluff (12) carefully controls the ball on the way downfield for a shot attempt against Verde Valley.

Shuman, who was playing forward for the first time this season, chalked up a hat trick in the tie against Verde Valley.

He also just recently returned to the lineup after being sidelined with an injury.

Wright was chosen, Wholly said, "because he really stepped up and changed the whole feel of the game" in the second loss to Round Valley.

Loffler was selected for his all-around good play, Wholly said.

During the course of the two days, Wholly used the tournament games to test his players in positions where they might best help the team during the second half of the season.

"We tried some boys in places they'd never played before," he said. "That was good. I'm now excited about the rest of the season."

The Horns return to action at 6 p.m. Oct. 5 at Rumsey Park against Holbrook.

The Longhorns have one victory over the Roadrunners, having beaten them 2-1 Sept. 7 in Holbrook

Of the six remaining games, four of them will be at Rumsey Park.

"That's good because we spent the most part of the early season traveling," Wholly said.

During a two-week period in early September, the Horns played four region games and a tournament on the road.

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