Following three consecutive defeats, the Lady Longhorn volleyball team jumped back on the winning track Oct. 12 by defeating the homestanding St. Johns Redskins 3-0.
The victory put an end to Payson’s streak that was low lighted by narrow losses at Blue Ridge and Fountain Hills and a home defeat to Snowflake.
The 3-2 loss to the Lobos might have been the toughest to absorb since the three sets the Lady Horns lost all went into overtime and the outcomes, with a few breaks, could have gone the other way.
In St. Johns, however, the Lady Horns were on cruise control winning 25-17, 25-16 and 25-12 in front of a raucous crowd of Redskin supporters who strategically positioned themselves directly behind the PHS bench.
When coach Arnold Stonebrink asked his players during a time out if the rowdy crowd was a nuisance, Trinty England replied, “I’m pretending they are cheering for us.”
Other than the vocal crowd, which was mostly made up of male students, “There wasn’t much drama, we were able to win all three sets handily,” Stonebrink said. “I was really pleased with the play of the girls, especially that there was no letdown when I put the younger, less experienced players in.”
Individually, England was a demon at the net with 10 kills. Kayla Woolwine and Cami Barnett had seven kills each.
The coach also lauded setter Rachel Creighton saying she orchestrated the offense with her dead-on sets and 27 assists.
Megan Wessel shined at the service line with three aces and no errors in nine attempts.
With the St. Johns win in the record books, the Longhorns returned to the court last evening, Oct. 14, for a crucial showdown in Snowflake. (Results not available at press time).
If Payson emerged victorious against the Lobos it would create a tie for first in the East standings involving the Lady Horns, Snowflake and Blue Ridge. All would have two losses this season.
If a tie should occur, Stonebrink says he knows what would be used to settle it.
“I’m sure the tiebreaker for seeding into the regional tournament would be power points,” he said. “Currently we are No. 8, Blue Ridge is No. 11 and Snowflake is No. 13.”
However, there is another challenge awaiting the Lady Horns that will eventually affect tournament seeding.
“Out of the three (teams that could be tied), we have the toughest remaining schedule,” Stonebrink said. “We have Fountain Hills (Oct. 21) and Flagstaff (Oct. 25), and our easiest one should be Round Valley (Oct. 19).
“We have a challenge in trying to collar the first seed into the regional tournament,” said Stonebrink.