A pair of Lady Longhorn volleyball players are basking in the laurels of having received honorable mention honors to the prestigious Division III All-State team.
Emme Ashby and Rachel Creighton were named to the team Dec. 4 by The Arizona Republic newspaper sports staff.
Creighton, a senior and three-year letter winner, who played setter for the Lady Horns was the team’s quarterback the entire 2011 season setting up teammates for kills and returns.
She might have turned in her finest game in a PHS uniform on Oct. 18 in Payson’s pulsating 3-0 match win over state No. 8 ranked Fountain Hills.
Throughout the entire match, she was what coach Arnold Stonebrink called “a cold-blooded killing machine” with 17 hits, nine kills, no errors and 34 assists. Most of her hits were on power sets.
Just two days later in a loss to Mingus, Creighton was once again the consummate teammate, dishing out 16 assists.
In September at the Payson Invitational Tournament, Creighton impressed opposing coaches sufficiently enough to be named to the all-tournament team.
At the conclusion of Creighton’s junior season she was named to the All-East Region first team and was an all-state honorable mention selection.
Ashby, only a sophomore, represents the future of the Lady Horn volleyball program.
Last season, she teamed with Katelyn Curtis and Katilyn Wessel at the net to give the Lady Horns a potent three-pronged hitting attack.
Ashby was possibly at her best in a regular season three-game sweep of powerful Fountain Hills finishing with a team high nine kills.
On Sept. 6 in a win over Scottsdale Coronado, Ashby drew praise from Stonebrink for a stellar performance that included 20 hitting attempts nine kills and only one error.
Ashby sprung onto the volleyball scene during the summer program when she was the lone sophomore to play on the A team that included three seniors and three juniors.
At the time, Stonebrink said Ashby, as a freshman, was good, but since has “worked very hard on her game and played club ball.”
Over the summer, Ashby sprouted to 5 feet, 11 inches and had not lost any of her coordination, which made her a prime fit on the front line.
Following a summer tournament in Winslow, Stonebrink lauded her saying, “She was downright dominating on defense, registering several stuffs.
In naming the D-III All-State team, the newspaper staff tapped three of Seton Catholic’s players to the first team. Blue Ridge’s Jessica Johnson, a 5-foot-9-inch, senior setter was the former 3A East Region’s only first or second team honoree.