The Lady Longhorn soccer team’s playoff aspirations took a hit Oct. 5 at Rumsey Park with a 1-0 loss to the Round Valley Elks.
In the clash, which was played in rain and on a wet FieldTurf artificial surface, the Lady Horns outshot the Elks 24 to 9, but could never score the tying or winning goal.
For Payson, forward Tanya Olson took 12 of the shots.
On the junior varsity level, Payson won 3-1 on goals from Nidia Vega, Chelsea Frewin and Liz Harpe.
With the varsity’s loss, the PHS girls must now scramble for wins in the remaining four regular season games if they are to earn a berth into the playoffs which being Oct. 29.
On Oct. 2 in Holbrook, Payson took a 3-0 win over the Roadrunners and four days earlier at Rumsey Park, PHS fell to Blue Ridge 2-1.
Against Holbrook, Payson took a 1-0 lead in the first half on Sara Anderson’s goal from about 10 yards out that hit the cross bar and fell in the net.
That was, however, one of the few offensive bright spots in the first half.
“For some reason, this game was difficult for us, we had a hard time scoring,” said coach Amy Wilcox. “We had control of the game, but just had a hard time putting the ball in the net.”
The inability of the team to score prompted the first-year coach to pull the starting offensive players from the field “to talk to them and give them a break.”
Those who replaced the starters “Did an excellent job while in the game (even though) three of the five subs are defenders.”
Those who replaced the starters included Liz Harpe, Janelle Hauptman, Savannah Grassel and Chelsea D’Agostina.
“The subs gave us a goal,” said Wilcox. “They were a little lost, but they worked hard and it paid off.”
Payson got off 31 shot attempts, many of which were thwarted by the Roadrunner goalie who “made some great saves.”
Against Blue Ridge, which is one of the better teams in the conference, the Lady Horns trailed only 1-0 at halftime.
“Blue Ridge got a quick goal, but then we held them the rest of the half,” Wilcox said.
At about the 60th minute, the Yellow Jackets scored their second and winning goal.
Liz Romberger scored Payson’s lone goal on one of her five attempts.
Following the game, Wilcox lauded goalie Natalie Black for her five saves.
“It was exciting to come so close to beating them,” the coach said. “Our whole team stepped up and played very well.”
The Lady Horns return to action tomorrow, traveling to Show Low to take on the Cougars. Game time is 4 p.m.