Lady Longhorn Rachel Creighton received only honorable mention honors when The Arizona Republic newspaper named its All-Division III volleyball team, but when the results of coaching voting for All-D-III honors were announced, Creighton was named to the prestigious second team.
That announcement sent Lady Horn coach Arnold Stonebrink into a frenzy of handsprings admitting he was more than a bit disappointed when the newspaper didn’t select Creighton to a loftier status.
“I wish she could have made at least second team (on The Arizona Republic selections),” Stonebrink said upon first learning of the honorees. “Not making state as a team probably hurt her in that regard.”
The coach went on to praise Creighton saying the end of her senior season, “culminated the career of one of the best players I have had.”
Playing setter, Creighton averaged 7.9 assists per set which tied her for fourth in the rugged Division III.
Her total number of assists over the course of her career was the most anyone has recorded in Stonebrink’s tenure as head coach.
“She also was a great defensive player, finishing third on the team in digs,” the coach said. “And she was a fantastic server, but perhaps the most overlooked part of her game was hitting.”
Her season ending hitting mark of .279 was the best on the team and the highest mark of any PHS setter in the last several seasons.
As a hitter, she wasn’t overwhelming powerful, but used tips, pushes and spikes to excel.
Most importantly about Creighton, Stonebrink said, “she was a true leader; led through example, effort and heart more than words.”
In addition to being named to the All-Division III team, Creighton was earlier chosen to the All D-III, Section I second team.
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.
The past season, 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.
Joining Creighton on the 2011 All-Division III second team as a setter was Florence’s Noelle Olson.
Blue Ridge’s Jessica Johnson and Leslie Cole of Seaton Catholic were named the setters on the All-Division III first team.