While the Payson High School boys soccer team failed to earn a berth into the state tournament, the girls will be advancing as the East Region’s No. 4 seed.
The Lady Longhorns play at 5 p.m. today, Oct. 30, on Field No. 6 at Tempe Sports Complex against West Region champion Desert Christian.
Region bronze medalist Blue Ridge, runner-up Show Low and champion St. Johns will also represent the East.
Blue Ridge is seeded against Verde Valley (West No. 2), Show Low takes on River Valley (West No. 3) and St. Johns plays Camp Verde (West No. 4).
All first round games will be played today at TSC. Second round contests are set for tomorrow also at TSC. The champion clash is at noon, Nov. 7 at Camp Verde High School.
In the boys state bracket, the East’s four state seeds are Blue Ridge (No. 1), Snowflake (No. 2), Show Low (No. 3) and Holbrook (No. 4). The Longhorn boys finished sixth in the final East standings with a 1-3-1 region record.
Coach Chris Avakian said the team could have advanced with a win Oct. 21 in Holbrook, but fell to the Roadrunners 3-1.
For the Lady Longhorns to advance to the state tournament’s second round, they must find a way to get past No. 1 seeded Desert Christian — a team that eliminated PHS last year 4-2 in a shoot-out.
The two teams met early this season in the Show Low Invitational with DC surviving a 1-0 thriller.
“I’m sure they have gotten better since the last time we played them, but so have we,” coach Joe Schmidt said. “I’d just as soon play Desert Christian as any team from the East.”
The Lady Horns have been led all season long by Tanya Olsen and Becca Branstetter. Others the coach has praised over the course of the campaign are Marissa Garcia, Kendel Lann, Kayla Francis, Blanca Valdez, Taylor Wood, Sara Anderson, Natalie Black and Alayna Hauptman.