Fourth-Place Finish Doesn’T Mar Fun Of Tournament

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The Payson Longhorn girls varsity soccer team finished in fourth place in Show Low this weekend.

The Lady Longhorns won a shoot-out over Blue Ridge during the open game.

“The field was very wet and there was rain almost the entire game. This made it very difficult for the goalies. Their gloves were very slick and the ball would skid on the ground,” said coach Amy Wilcox.

She said Blue Ridge has always been a powerful team and came out strong and scored two goals within the first 10 minutes.

Payson’s Sage Pearce then got a break away and scored the Horns’ first goal. The second half, Pearce struck again. Natalie Moceri placed the ball right on the foot of Pearce from a serve off of a corner kick. Pearce took the ball and pounded it in off of a volley, which is a very tough shot to execute.

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Sage Pearce, Lady Longhorn #7, gets into position quickly to help block this shot by a recent opponent.

“It was a beautiful assist and a beautiful goal,” said Wilcox.

A shoot-out had to take place to determine a winner. Payson ended up beating Blue Ridge in the shoot-out 3-1 with goals from Natalie Black, Liz Harpe and Nidia Vega.

“This was a huge win for us. It has been years since Payson girls soccer has beaten Blue Ridge. It was a great way to start the tournament,” Wilcox said.

The Lady Longhorns took on Snowflake in the second game with Snowflake striking first. The score was 1-0 going into halftime. Payson came back in the second half to tie the game. The goal was off a cross from Janelle Hauptman and a finish from Liz Harpe. This then took the game into another shoot-out with the Horns losing 3-5.

Against Holbrook on Saturday the Lady Horns came away with a 3-0 win. Natalie Moceri scored the first goal with a solid strike from about 20 yards away. The next goal came in the second half. There was a foul in the box and Natalie Moceri scored off a penalty kick. The final goal was by Liz Harpe, with a solid strike that went through the goalie’s hands.

“We had many outstanding players in this game,” said Wilcox. “Our defense did a great job keeping the ball in front of them. Our goalie was bored during this game, which is a good thing in a soccer game. Macy Dailey also had a great game, with eight shots on goal.”

Wilcox said these tournament matches readied the Horns for playing their final game against St. Johns (last year’s state champion). This was the game to determine third and fourth place in the tournament.

“We started playing this game in a new formation,” she said. “We hung with St. Johns to be down only 1-0 at half. We did some adjusting with our new formation and played very well the second half. St. Johns scored two more, then we scored off of a corner served by Natalie Moceri. There was a scramble in the front of the goal and Macy Dailey and Liz Harpe put just enough pressure on the opposing players to make a St. Johns player have the final touch to score our goal.”  

Overall, it was a very fun and successful tournament for all of us, Wilcox said.

“We played hard every game and never gave up,” she said.

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