Payson started the volleyball season 2-0 before stumbling at home against Chino Valley in a 3-1 loss on Sept. 7.
Head coach Kamae Carnes knew the Longhorns had issues to address following a 3-2 victory over rival Fountain Hills on Sept. 2, which came two days after Payson opened the year with a 3-0 win at Camp Verde on Aug. 31.
Payson carried a 2-1 record into its Sept. 8 game at Queen Creek San Tan Foothills.
The coach said she likes a lot of what the Longhorns are doing, but has found things to work on.
Payson 3, Fountain Hills 2
“It was fun, real fun,” Carnes said after the triumph over Fountain Hills.
“The girls have a lot of work to do, though. (There were) a lot of unforced points. I just know they’re capable of more.
“We definitely have a good, solid team,” the coach said after the Sept. 2 triumph over the Falcons.
“They’re working out the wrinkles a little bit, but they’re going to be fine.”
Chino Valley 3, Payson 1
She found more positives in the Chino Valley loss.
“I was very proud of the resiliency they showed in a 16-25, 10-25, 25-20, 22-25 loss to Chino Valley.
“After losing the first two sets by a pretty good point spread and being down by 10 in the third set, Emma Mcnab went on a nine-point serving run which hyped her team and helped them pull off a third-set win.
“The fourth set, we went back and forth point by point, both teams battling with Chino pulling off a win.
“Our match against Chino was most definitely a challenge. Chino has put together a very tough serving team and they showed an amazingly quick defense. Our team struggled right away and couldn’t find a groove until late in the third set.
“We are still working on finding that balance between serving aggressively yet consistently.
“We also need to pick up our serve receive quite a bit, our top passer is passing at less than 60% and that just won’t win games.”
Payson 3, Camp Verde 0
The Longhorns beat host Camp Verde 25-18, 25-19, 25-21 on Aug. 31.
Rylee Carnes served 90% (18-for-20) with five aces and had 20 assists on 56 of 58 setting. Emma Macnab recorded 20 digs and was 7-for-7 serving. Robyn Wilson had 12 kills.
“We were definitely in a good groove over there,” the coach said.