The Payson Lady Longhorn summer volleyball team's pursuit of excellence continued last week at the Blue Ridge Invitational.
The Lakeside-Pinetop tournament marked the team's first return to play since posting a highly impressive performance in the Miami Invitational, held June 22 and 23.
At Blue Ridge, however, the junior and senior veterans who led the team in Miami weren't along on the journey.
"This time, we didn't have as strong of a team," said coach Arnold Stonebrink. "We had several young and inexperienced players."
Despite playing with a crew of younger players, the team performed well early, winning pool play, with an 8-2 record.
"Unfortunately, that was our last hurrah, we went 0-6 in cross-pool play against the number-one teams from other pools," Stonebrink said. Those losses were to Mesa Westwood, Fountain Hills and Thatcher A.
In the double elimination tournament that followed pool and cross-pool action, Payson was eliminated with losses to Holbrook and Thatcher B.
Although the team stumbled in the latter going, Stonebrink cited Mollee Lee for leading the team in kills and hitting efficiency.
"She also had the most aces and was the leader in serving," Stonebrink said.
Segan Cline was cited for her outstanding passing.
Next up in the volleyball summer program is the Northern Arizona University Lady Lumberjack volleyball camp, to be held from 9 a.m. to noon July 23 to 27 in Wilson Dome.
The camp is open to aspiring players entering grades four through 12.
In addition to the morning camp, a special afternoon session will be held for the veteran players.
"Our club has selected 12 girls to participate in the team camp," Stonebrink said. The coach lauded the camps, saying both are "a great opportunity and ones that I highly recommend."
During the youth camp, coaches will stress improving individual skills, including serving, passing, digging, setting and defense.
During the varsity camp, players will work in a team setting, with goals of improving their overall offense and defense.
To register for the camp, visit www.lumberjackvbcamps.com. The fee is $150 per player.