Trevor Creighton harbors few doubts the Lady Longhorn volleyball program will be a force to reckon with for years to come.
“The future is very bright,” he predicted at the conclusion of the Rim Country Middle School season in which the eighth grade team, coached by his wife, Shelli, finished 10-0 and won the White Mountain League Championship.
The RCMS seventh grade team that Trevor coached compiled a 9-1 record, losing only to Snowflake in an overtime third set squeaker that ended in the Lobos favor, 16-14.
The gold medal winning eighth-graders, Trevor said, are a uniquely talented group, “They are solid at everything they do. They also ran a 5-1 high school offense and have many skills like spot serving and jump serving that normally only older players can do.”
The seventh grade team thrived partly because several of the players had the height advantage that has long been absent in the middle and high school programs.
“I’m not used to having height,” said Trevor, who also is an assistant PHS varsity coach and has coached on both the freshman and junior varsity levels.
The seventh-graders, he added, “All had a lot of confidence and great movement on the court.”
Another plus for both teams is that about half of the players are involved in the off-season club team programs.
Trevor calls the experience of playing club ball a tremendous asset during both the middle school and high school seasons.
In the eighth-graders’ march to the title, the team opened the season-ending WML tournament with a 2-0 win over St. Johns. In the semifinals, the Lady Mavericks disposed of Canyon Day 2-0.
During the finals played Dec. 1 in Wilson Dome, RCMS bested archrival Snowflake 25-17 and 25-18.
With the school volleyball seasons at an end, many of the players will turn their attention to the off-season program and play for one of the six teams that Club Payson is fielding.
Trevor estimates more that 70 players will participate.