With one game remaining on the regular season schedule, Amy Wilcox’s first year as Lady Longhorn head coach is winding down.
All that remains in the regular season is the finale Oct. 23 in Eagar-Springerville against the Round Valley Elks.
If Payson makes the playoffs as one of the East’s top-four seeds, the first round begins Oct. 29 at Quail Run Complex in Mesa.
The second round will be played Nov. 5 and the finals on Nov. 6. The last two rounds will be played at Campo Verde High School in Gilbert.
In regular season action on Oct. 12, the Lady Horns fell 7-1 to a powerful St. Johns Redskins team. Just two days earlier in Show Low, the Cougars edged Wilcox’s charges 4-3 in a clash the coach calls “very well played.”
In the first half, the Lady Horns took a 2-1 lead on goals by Perla Gueruque and Liz Romberger.
“Liz struck the ball hard and it bounced under the goalie’s legs and ended up in the back of the net,” said Wilcox. The goal was scored after an assist from Natalie Moceri.
In the 59th minute, Gueruque scored again to give the Lady Horns a 3-1 cushion.
“Tanya Olson kicked a corner kick and there was a scramble in front of the goal and Perla knocked the ball in,” Wilcox said.
The never-say-die Cougars roared back to tie the game 3-3 and with about two minutes remaining in the game, scored the winning goal on a corner kick.
“The girls played very well; I had a parent come to me after the game and tell me this is the best they have seen our girls play,” said Wilcox. “They fought the entire game.”
The coach also lauded Show Low as a “very talented team” while praising her players for being able to “stick with them.”
Against St. Johns, the No. 1 team in the region and a favorite to reach the state championship, the Lady Horns were run over by a Redskin team Wilcox calls “bigger, stronger and faster.”
The Skins wasted little time getting on the scoreboard, scoring in the second minute of the game and again about five minutes later.
“We came right back only one minute later and put our only goal in,” Wilcox said. “Liz (Romberger) took a shot that bounced off the goalie’s hands and into the net.”
St. Johns rallied for another goal just before the half to take a 3-1 lead into the locker room.
In the second half, the Redskins erased any doubt about the game’s outcome scoring four consecutive goals.
Although St. Johns racked up a whopping seven goals, Wilcox named goalie Natalie Black the outstanding player of the game for her 11 saves.
St. Johns riddled the Payson defense for 27 shots. Payson had just 13 attempts.
“The coach from the other team told me after the game he was impressed with Natalie’s performance,” Wilcox said. “She had some amazing saves.”
Against Holbrook on Oct. 2, Payson defeated the Roadrunners 3-0, but two days earlier lost 2-1 to Blue Ridge.
All season long Wilcox has been assisted on the junior varsity level by her father, Randy, a Rim Country Middle School physical education teacher.