Payson Star Named All-State Honorable Mention

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Payson High School senior Liz Romberger capped her stellar four-year soccer career in impressive fashion by being named Arizona All-State Honorable Mention and All-East first team.

The All-State accolades were announced March 6 when the sports staff of the Arizona Republic named its teams for all school size classifications, 1A through 5A.

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Liz Romberger

The Payson star was named to the 1A-3A star team.

The announcement of the All-State team was delayed until the completion of the winter season.

Some 1A-3A teams, like Payson, play their season during September and October.

Other 1A-3A teams, most of which are in the Valley, play during the winter months of December and January.

The All-State teams are not made public until both seasons end.

The announcement of the All-East honorees was made in November at the conclusion of the regular season.

For the Lady Longhorns, Romberger — one of eight seniors on the team — held down a starting forward position on a squad that advanced to the state tournament only to drop a 2-0 heartbreaker to powerful St. Johns, also the East Region champion.

The Lady Horns earned the coveted state berth with a pulsating 1-0 playoff win over the Round Valley Elks. In the triumph, it was Romberger who served up the assist that allowed Tanya Olson to score the winning goal.

A pair of most unusual goals Romberger scored this year highlighted regular games against Show Low and St. Johns.

In a 4-3 win over Show Low, the Lady Longhorn standout blasted a long kick that, coach Amy Wilcox said, “bounced under the goalie’s legs and ended up in the back of the net.”

In a 7-1 loss to St. Johns, Romberger legged a booming shot attempt that was deflected off the startled goalie’s hands and into the net.

In a 2-0 win over Snowflake in the Show Low Invitational, Romberger turned in one of her finest games scoring both Lady Horn goals on a team-high, 10 shot attempts.

Such were her offensive exploits all season long as she buoyed the Lady Longhorns with her fiery efforts.

In the All-State selections, the only East players chosen first team were Devon Layton of Show Low and St. Johns’ Jesse Udall.

The team was dominated by selections from small parochial schools including Desert Christian, Northwest Christian, Yuma Catholic and Pusch Ridge Christian.

Pusch Ridge senior Chelsea Ruland was named Small School Player of the Year and Andy McKean of Phoenix Country Day was tapped Small School Coach of the Year.

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