Lady Horns Head To State As East's No. 4 Seed

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Take the "glass is half-full" philosophy, and the Lady Longhorn volleyball team is going to state, where history proves anything can happen.

Subscribers to the "glass is half-empty" philosophy will say the Lady Horns are going to state, but with a lowly fourth seed and pitted against one of the finest teams in the state in the first round.

Whatever the viewpoint, the Lady Horns are facing a huge challenge when they travel Nov. 10 to Peoria High School where they will take on North region champion Monument Valley in the first round of the Class 3A Arizona State tournament.

"Monument Valley and Chandler Seton Catholic are the two teams picked (to win the championship)," coach Arnold Stonebrink said.

Payson must open against a No. 1 seed and region champion because the team fell from regular season co-champion to a four-seed in the East season-ending tournament Nov. 4 at Blue Ridge High School.

Although the team entered the postseason as a tournament championship favorite, the Lady Horns lost to Snowflake and Round Valley after receiving a bye into the final four.

In Payson's tournament opener, the Lady Horns lost 3-1 to the archrival Lobos. Payson won the first game 25-15, but then fell 25-20, 25-22 and 15-13.

Against Round Valley, PHS was unable to right its sinking ship, losing a 3-2 heartbreaker.

After dropping a hard-fought first game 25-22, PHS rallied for 25-20 and 25-23 victories. In the crucial final two games, the Lady Horns lost 25-23 and 17-15. PHS led 6-2 in the fifth showdown, before stumbling.

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Payson High School senior setter Brooke Cannon was named the East region's most valuable player.

Stonebrink attributed the lackluster showing in Lakeside to service errors.

"Eighty percent of our problem was serving," he said. "In the last game loss (to Round Valley), we had 24 service errors. I've never been around a team that had that many."

Although the regional tournament showing was disappointing, the Lady Horn cause did receive a boost when senior setter Brooke Cannon was named the East region's most valuable player.

"That was well deserved," Stonebrink said.

With the region tournament in the record books, Blue Ridge -- who tied Payson for the regular season crown -- will advance to state as the East's top seed. Snowflake takes the second and Round Valley advances as a No. 3.

State game time at Peoria High School is 9 a.m.

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