Volleyball Team Solidifies First Place Position With Another Win

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Editor's note: This story was scheduled to run in the Tuesday, Oct. 17 edition, but didn't make it into the paper. We are running it an issue late to keep the record of this great volleyball season whole.

The Lady Longhorns volleyball team continued its winning streak Oct. 12 after a win against Alchesay.

"Alchesay is the weakest team in our region, and so we have to battle not having enough enthusiasm," said coach Arnold Stonebrink. "But the girls showed up with their "A" game, and the results were 25-13 and 25-11 wins to start."

The third-game lineup changed and Stonebrink included several jayvee players.

"We got off to a slow start, falling quickly behind, 6-0," Stonebrink said. "The girls fought back, and tied it up at 10-10. It was a seesaw battle from there, but Payson was able to prevail, 26-24."

The star players in the game against Alchesay were Hannah Armenta, Segan Cline and Tori Wilbanks who has hit the ball well all year.

Armenta got off to a slow start this year, but has come into her own the past few matches.

"She is becoming more and more consistent and dominating," Stonebrink said.

Cline is mainly a jayvee player who is being groomed to play libero or defensive specialist next year. She was one of the varsity team leaders in passing against Alchesay.

"The biggest surprise was her serving," Stonebrink said. "She used to be a somewhat inconsistent and weak server, and on jayvee she generally plays libero, and liberos aren't allowed to serve, according to the rules. So, her nailing three aces was a pleasant surprise."

The No. 1 hitters were Wilbanks, who had 12 kills and hit .556, followed by Armenta with 12 kills and hit .421.

Chris Deaton had four kills and hit .333.

Armenta, Jade Heglie and Kyja Sommars were the passing leaders.

Mollee Lee was the No. 1 server with four aces.

The varsity team's win brings them to 8-1 in the region.

Snowflake beat Holbrook, which solidified the Longhorns' position in first place.

Tuesday evening's foes are the girls of Blue Ridge, now in second place.

"I think everybody is pretty excited about (tonight's) game," Wilbanks said.

The biggest challenge playing Blue Ridge is "sticking together as a team, not falling apart and playing to the best of our ability," she said. "If we can do those things, we'll be great."

The first time the Lady Horns played Blue Ridge, they beat them the first two games.

"On the third game, we kind of just fell apart," Wilbanks said. "You kind of have to redeem yourself after the two losses, so when you take it to the fifth game you have to psych them out."

"If we win, we will be a virtual lock to finish the regular season at No. 1," Stonebrink said.

That the girls are hoping to win the state championship is an understatement.

"We've fought for this for three years now, we want to win it," Wilbanks said, praising hitters and diggers like Jade Heglie "who can hit anything" and Brooke Cannon who "hustles all the time."

"I have so much faith in our team," Wilbanks said.

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