The Lady Longhorns put their unblemished 2-0 record on the line when they travel today, Aug. 31, to Heber-Overgaard to take on the Mogollon Mustangs.
Because MHS is a 2A school, the ’Stangs are not expected to give the Lady Horns a stiff test, but an upset remains in the range of possibilities.
“We hear they are pretty good, I hope they challenge our team,” said coach Arnold Stonebrink.
The Lady Horns opened the season Aug. 24 with a convincing 3-0 win over Holbrook and continued the early season roll on Aug. 26 whipping Globe by a 3-0 measure. Both matches were played in Wilson Dome.
Against Globe, Payson opened with a 25-6 victory and then posted wins by 25-19 and 15-9 margins.
In the first set, sophomore Megan Wessel was on fire with 13 consecutive service winners that included five aces.
“We rolled to an easy victory from there,” said Stonebrink. “But the next set we were not quite as sharp.”
The players, obviously not as intense and as focused as the first game, struggled with their hitting.
“We scattered six spikes all over the gym,” said Stonebrink. “Our decline in our game kept things close – we were only ahead 19-18 before going on a 6-1 run.”
During the scoring streak, Rachel Creighton posted four service winners to nail down the “W”.
In the third and deciding game, the Lady Tigers got on the scoreboard first taking a 2-0 lead. Eventually, however, Payson’s hitting and serving paved the way to a come from behind victory.
“Katelyn Curtis, Trinity England and Kelsey Waugh were a combined nine hits and nine kills to completely snuff out any hopes the Tigers had of earning a win,” Stonebrink said.
Curtis and Creighton also had three aces each.
Following the win, the coach lauded Curtis for her strong play that included seven hits, six kills, four aces, no errors, seven service winners and superb passing and serve receiving. “She had a stellar night,” he said.
Also drawing praise from the coach were libero Rachel DiFelice, Rylee Halenar and England.
“Rachel had a tremendous night, she had nearly perfect serve receive and Rylee led the team in digs with five. Rylee’s back row play was solid.”
England was praised for seven kills and .286 hitting. Creighton finished the night with four aces and 12 service winners and Megan Wessel had six aces and 14 service winners.
On the junior varsity front, Payson won 25-9 and 25-3. “They dominated the Tigers,” Stonebrink said.