Actor Clint Eastwood in the 1976 movie “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” explains his philosophy on life’s tough times by saying, “When things look bad, and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean.
“I mean plumb mad dog mean.”
That’s advice the Lady Longhorn volleyball team might want to take to heart in today’s, Oct. 18, crucial showdown against the visiting Fountain Hills Falcons.
A back-against-the-wall attitude is needed because Payson’s postseason hopes seem to be on the line, mostly because a win could earn the Lady Horns a berth to the season-ending Big Dance set to begin Nov. 4.
Reaching the state tournament has been a team goal since preseason practices began in early August.
But a loss tonight against the Falcons could put an end to those dreams and the Lady Horns might be on the outside looking in when the postseason tips off.
Knowing the entire season could be at stake this evening, Lady Horn players might want to remember Josey Wales’ life plan and, “Get mean, plumb mad dog mean.”
The Lady Horns precarious playoff position is both perplexing and puzzling because the team has played quite well this year with a trio of top-three finishes in tournaments at Coconino, Snowflake and in Payson.
But those matches don’t count in power points standings, only regular season games are calculated and Payson has played a very demanding schedule, which has hurt their playoff chances.
Currently in the Division III, Section I standings, Payson is sitting seventh among 14 teams with a 3-2 record.
Among the division’s 49 teams, Payson is ranked 17th with an 8-7 mark.
Neither record will earn the Lady Horns a ducat to state, but they can qualify as an at-large team on power points.
That could happen if the Lady Horns can move up to at least 16th with a win this evening over Fountain Hills, now sitting 11th with a 11-4 record.
But beating FH will be a daunting task, even though the Lady Horns edged the Falcons in a Sept. 14 match at Fountain Hills.
“They are number five in the state and although we managed a win on their court a few weeks ago, they can be, and have been lethal,” said coach Arnold Stonebrink.
The recent stellar player of several team standouts including Emmee Ashby who had 25 hits, 13 kills and no errors in a recent 3-2 win over Mingus give Lady Horn fans great hope the Falcons can again be clipped.
Megan Wessel and her sister Kaitlyn have also played well as serve receivers and setter Rachel Creighton sparks the team with her assists.
McKenzie Creighton, Megan Wessel and Marci Maupin have shown well at the serving line.
Katelyn Curtis continually draws praise for her “team first” attitude and is one of Payson’s finest players at outside hitter.
Those stellar players coupled with a “plumb mad dog mean” approach could be the Lady Horns’ ticket to state. Game time this evening is about 6 p.m.