Payson’s Go-Girl club volleyball team turned in a banner 2013 season even though the team struggled in the season-ending tournament playing without standout seniors Megan Wessel, Kaitlyn Wessel or Shayna Neal.
“They weren’t there to bail us out,” said coach Arnold Stonebrink, who doubles as the Lady Longhorn head volleyball coach.
For the tournament, which was played Saturday, April 13, in Show Low, the Payson contingent could have been named the PHS “Kiddie Korp” mostly because the roster had just one sophomore and the remainder of players were freshmen.
“They played decent, but not well enough to win,” said Stonebrink.
In pool play, the Rim team finished a disappointing 1-4, losing two heartbreakers by identical scores of 21-20.
In bracket play against St. Johns, Payson opened with a 21-10 win, but fell 21-10 and 15-10.
In an attempt to overcome youth and inexperience, Stonebrink rolled the strategy dice deciding to move libero Lizbeth Ochoa around the floor, sometimes playing her in the back row and other times in the front.
“Opposite her was middle hitter Tenna Hintze ... I had her play at the 10-foot line on defense and dig and just hit down the balls set to her,” the coach said.
The ploy, he said, “Actually worked pretty well.
“When you have only six players, sometimes you have to be creative.”
Following the tournament the coach lauded Ochoa as the team’s most valuable player saying she “made a bunch of incredible saves and led the team in service winners (23) nearly twice as much as anyone else. Also, 91 percent of her serves were inbounds and she posted a 66 percent service winning percentage.”
Stonebrink is predicting that if Ochoa’s progress continues she will be in the near future an outstanding back row player.
Also for Go-Girl, Klara Sorenson excelled at passing and was the team’s top server.
Chevy Barnett pounded 95 percent of her serves inbounds and won 58 percent of her serves.
Hintze excelled at both hitting and passing and “dug well from the 10-foot line,” Stonebrink said.
Kelsee Stonebrink recorded four aces and led the team in hitting, kills and assists.
With the Go-Girl club season at an end, players will turn their attention to the summer off-season program, which includes open gym, clinics and tournaments.