The Lady Longhorn volleyball team has wrapped up one of its most successful three-match stints of the past decade by whipping a tough Fountain Hills squad, 3-2.
Days earlier, the Lady Horns upset favored Snowflake, 3-0, and also ran past Sedona, 3-1.
"The wins were all over teams we went a combined 0-7 against last year," coach Arnold Stonebrink said.
"And I don't know how long it's been since Payson beat Snowflake."
Payson High School athletic director Dave Bradley said he can't remember the last time the Lady Horns whipped the Lobos either.
Record searches of the Payson Roundup reveal no Lady Horn victories over Snowflake in at least the past seven years.
In wrapping up the three-match win streak with the victory over Fountain Hills, the Lady Horns lost the first game 25-20, then rebounded to win the next two, 25-17 and 25-21.
Payson lost the fourth game to set up a crucial fifth-game showdown.
"The girls showed intensity and focus in the fifth game like I've never seen in my career here," Stonebrink said.
After jumping out to an 8-2 lead in game five, the Lady Horns waltzed to a 15-10 win.
In victory, Stonebrink praised the efforts of Fountain Hills saying, "The Falcons played very well, especially two servers who gave us fits.
"One had a hard topspin jump serve and the other had a floating jump serve.
"One (player) served seven straight winners to give them a 9-2 lead in the first game."
Although the Lady Horns trailed early, they rallied to tie up the first game 20-20, but then gave up the final five points.
Stonebrink credits the wins in the next two games to "the girls working hard to adjust to the two Falcon tough servers."
He lauded the play of Courtnay Ferkol and Mollee Lee as keys to the wins.
"They righted the ship enough to enable us to run our offense," he said.
In the fourth-game loss, the Lady Horns again had difficulty returning Falcon serves. That, coupled with playing mistakes, resulted in the nine-point defeat.
Following the hard-earned match victory, Stonebrink cited senior setter Brooke Cannon for her contributions.
"Her .700 hitting efficiency led the team and she had seven well-placed spikes and tips that went for kills," he said.
Senior outside hitter Tori Wilbanks led the team in kills with 17.
Laci Sommars had five kills and .500 hitting and Lee had seven kills and .227 hitting.
"Hitting prowess along with Brooke's setting carried the team to victory," Stonebrink said.
Defensively, Jenna Robertson and Chris Deaton contributed three stuffs each. As a team, the Lady Horns chalked up nine.
Stonebrink also cited the serving of Lee who had six aces.
The Lady Horns returned to the court yesterday, Thursday, against the Blue Ridge Yellow Jackets. (Results not available at press time).
Before the team's departure to BRHS in Lakeside, Stonebrink said, "The match will be big, it will give us another indication as to where we're at in relation to other good teams."