Payson's 3-0 season-opening win over Estrella Foothills might have brought out the best in the individual players.
At least that's the opinion of head coach Arnold Stonebrink.
"I like how the girls responded, instead of being passive, they were aggressive and kept the pressure on the opposition the whole game," he said.
There might be, however, some underlying reasons for the spirited play.
"It helps that some (starting) positions are still being fought over," the coach said.
The only game of the three that turned into much of a barnburner was the first.
"We forged ourselves an 18-13 lead, but then gave up a five-point run to slip into a tie," Stonebrink said.
"I called time out and told the girls that the last five points had been given to the Wolves thanks to errors on our part."
Stonebrink's chides paid dividends after the time out when the Lady Horns went on a 7-1 run to win the game.
Payson took the final two games rather easily, 25-14 and 25-11.
"I was quite pleased with the girls' play for it being the first match of the season," Stonebrink said. "We had good production from nearly every player."
Rose Hardt, in her first full season of varsity play, shined with four aces and no service errors in 10 attempts.
"The team served very effectively, mixing hard floaters and hard top spinners with short serves," Stonebrink said.
Team stats reveal the Lady Horns were successful on 92 percent of their serves.
Stonebrink cited Michelle Daniels, Laughlin Potvin, Reghan Flake and Kristin Remonda for their stellar passing.
"If the passing stays this strong and consistent, we will have a very successful season," he said.
Among the underclassmen, former Lady Horn star Jadyn Walden, who now coaches the freshmen, picked up her first high school coaching victory. Trevor Creighton won for the first time as a jayvee coach.
Creighton has previously been a freshman coach and a varsity assistant.