A determined and gritty Lady Longhorn soccer team has saddled the Show Low Cougars with their first loss of the 2006 campaign.
The upset of the Cats, by a 1-0 score, was chalked up Sept. 12 in a hard fought region showdown at Rumsey Park.
Junior, returning letter winner Kirscha Wholly scored the winning goal with less than two minutes remaining in the second overtime.
Before the game, Schmidt expressed his concerns saying Show Low had "a strong midfield and some big strong forwards" that his squad would have to contend with.
Thanks to Wholly's clutch shot, the coach's worries were for naught.
The win over Show Low -- coupled with an earlier season 1-0 victory over Snowflake, a 3-1 thumping of Round Valley and a 1-1 tie with Blue Ridge -- has stamped the Lady Longhorns solid contenders for the region championship.
Currently, they are in first place in the region standings with a 4-0-1 record.
For Payson to make a run at the title, the players will need to continue their spirited efforts through the seven remaining region games.
Schmidt said weaknesses the team will try to shore up as the season wears on are teamwork and passing.
Among the foes the Lady Horns must derail if the team is to win the region crown is Blue Ridge.
In the first meeting of the two rivals, Aug. 29 in Payson, the Lady Horns scored in the third minute on a 15-yard shot by Wing.
The Yellow Jackets tied the game with a score of their own early in the second half.
With the dead knotted score, the two teams played two scoreless overtime periods, sending the game into the record books as a tie.
"Both teams were evenly matched in quickness and aggressiveness to the ball," Schmidt said after the game. "We had an edge in conditioning during the second half, beating tired defenders repeatedly but failing to score.
"Blue Ridge did a good job of passing and controlling the ball."
The Jackets also dominated the game offensively out-shooting Payson 20-6.
In whipping Round Valley Sept. 8 at Rumsey Park, Michelle Wing paved the way to victory scoring two goals, one of which was on a penalty kick. Jamie Bilyk also scored on a penalty kick.
While the Lady Horns were successful on two PKs, they also misfired on three others.
Following the game, coach Joe Schmidt cited the determined play of Hannah Lee, Janet Echols and Wing.
"We won on some great individual efforts on their part," he said.
Original PHS schedules show the Lady Horns playing St. Johns tomorrow, Saturday, at Rumsey Park.
That game, however, was recently rescheduled for Oct. 19 at Rumsey. Game times are 4 (varsity) and 6 p.m. (junior varsity).
PHS athletic director Dave Bradley said St. Johns school officials asked to reschedule the game because it conflicted with the Apache County Fair occurring in St. Johns.
The state tournament will begin Oct. 27 and continue Oct. 28 at Tempe Sports Complex. The semifinals and finals will be contested Nov. 3 and 4 at Canyon State Academy.
-- To reach Max Foster call 474-5251 ext. 114 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.