18 Teams Seek Invitational Title

Lady Longhorns working to win championship

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Flash back to Sept. 2, 2006.

The Lady Longhorn volleyball team, beaming with potential, has just fashioned an impressive 7-3 record in pool play of the Payson Invitational Tournament.

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If the Lady Longhorns are to be successful in the Payson Invitational, they'll need to be strong at the net as they were in a season-opening win over Sedona.

But on the second day of the fray, the team loses to No. 1 seeded Page and falls into the losers bracket, where East regional rival Blue Ridge eliminates Payson, 2-1.

The highly disappointed team members surround the court to watch the championship finals, saying the loss has them reeling from the heartbreak of defeat.

"We should be playing in the championship," a player moans.

But that was a year ago -- today's team is gearing up to avoid the agony of last season.

In an effort to avoid that distress, players and coaches spent the past week prepping for the 2007 Payson Invitational that tipped off at 9 a.m. today (Friday) with pool play.

For that phase of the shoot out, tournament director Judy Perham has aligned the 18 teams in three pools of six teams each.

The Lady Horns are in the purple pool along with Flagstaff Coconino, Joseph City, Safford, St. Johns and Blue Ridge.

Lady Horns pool games are today at:

9 to 9:25-- Payson vs. Coconino; Wilson Dome

11 to 11:25- Payson vs. St. Johns; old gym

noon to 12:25- Payson vs. Joseph City; Wilson Dome

1:30 to 1:55 -- Payson vs. Blue Ridge; old gym

3:30 to 3:55--ayson vs. Safford; Wilson Dome

Gold pool

In the gold pool are Miami, Page, Mogollon, Window Rock, Wickenburg and Florence.

Morenci, Flagstaff, Ganado, Coolidge, Sedona and Mingus are aligned in the black pool.

Pool play action continues today until 4 p.m. At 5 p.m., a seeding tournament will begin that will pit the teams in each pool against one another, based on their finish earlier in the day.

For example, the No. 5 finisher from the purple pool will play No. 5 from the gold and the black pools. Number one finishers from each pool play one another, as do twos, threes, fours and sixes. The seeding tournament continues until 8 p.m.

Tomorrow (Saturday), the teams' battle in double elimination championship and consolation brackets.

The top three teams from each pool will play in the championship bracket and the bottom three lock horns in the consolation bracket.

During the two days, teams could play as many as 10 matches, which gives coaches ample opportunity to evaluate their players before all-important region play begins.

The tournament also allows the athletes to fine-tune their skills in hopes of earning plenty of playing time during upcoming crunch time.

At the conclusion of the prep fray, coaches will select an all-tournament team and a tournament most valuable player.

Last year, college recruiters were present at the tournament and they are expected to return, Perham said.

Among the Payson team members who played in the 2006 invitational and will again play this weekend are Mollee Lee, Hannah Armenta, Christina Deaton, Jenna Robertson and Cydney Figueroa.

All could contend for the MVP as could Lady Horns Segan Cline, Chelsea D'Arcangelo, Nikki DeWeese, Rose Hardt, Laughlin Potvin, Laci Sommars and Kristin Remonda.

For the tournament, souvenir T-shirts, food and drinks will be sold.

Lady Horn coaches Arnold Stonebrink, Trevor Creighton, Cassie Bradford and Perham are urging PHS fans to show up in force to cheer on the team.

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