An aura of uncertainty surrounds the Lady Longhorn soccer team as coach Amy Wilcox and players await word on the squad’s postseason fate.
To advance to the Division IV state tournament set to begin Friday, Oct. 26, the team needs to finish ranked among the top eight teams in power points.
At press time, the Lady Horns, with their 5-5 record, were rated ninth, just a percentage of points behind eighth-ranked St. Johns — a team PHS beat 1-0 in the Old Pueblo Classic tournament Sept. 29 in Tucson.
Payson had one game left in the regular season, yesterday (Oct. 18) vs. Arizona College Preparatory in Chandler. (Results not available at press time).
St. Johns also had a game left to play, Oct. 18 vs. Northland Prep in Flagstaff.
A Lady Horn win coupled with a Redskin loss would most likely propel PHS past St. Johns in power points and earn the team a state invitation.
However, if the Lady Horns were to fall and St. Johns wins, PHS players will probably be on the outside looking in during the state tournament.
The playoff situation is so tight, even Wilcox did not know the team’s fate at midweek.
“It’s still hard to tell whether we will be going or not,” she said.
The coach does consider a 2-1 win over Chino Valley on Oct. 11 at Rumsey Park a “W” that could get the team into the postseason.
“I think the win increased our chances,” she said after watching her squad nip the Cougars.
In the triumph, the fired-up Lady Horns dominated with 20 shots on goal while holding Chino Valley to just nine.
Payson’s first goal was a unique occurrence scored by Chelsea Frewin.
“She took a shot and the ball bounced off a defender’s foot and then through the goalie’s hands,” Wilcox said. “This is called an ‘own goal,’ but Chelsea was the last one to touch the ball from our team, so she was given credit for the goal.”
The Lady Horns scored their second and final goal in the second half after Marissa Kelley bounced a shot off a defender that was rebounded by scrambling Liz Harpe, who pushed the ball into the back of the net.
With about three minutes remaining, Chino scored to close the Payson cushion to 2-1.
“That got Chino’s adrenalin going and they were on the attack to try and tie it up,” Wilcox said. “Our girls were able to hold them and come up with the much needed win.”
While the victory over CV was a boost in power points, a 2-1 loss to Snowflake on Oct. 16 at Rumsey Park, threw the state chase back into one so tight it’s impossible to predict the outcome.