By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The Havre High volleyball team's 2002 season ended in disappointment at the Central A Divisional tournament in Browning.
On Saturday afternoon, the 2003 Blue Pony volleyball season began with promise as the Ponies captured a pair of Central A Conference matches at the Havre High School gymnasium.
"I don't want to say I was surprised that we came out and played as well as we did on Saturday," said Havre head coach Bill Huebsch. "But I was really pleased with how the girls came out and played so well so early in the season."
"I thought that in both matches we got solid contributions from everybody on the team," Huebsch added. "This is about as good a start to a season as you can have."
In the opening match of the day, the Ponies came out and rolled over the Butte Central Maroons 3-0. In the first game, the Ponies took control of the match early and coasted to a 25-14 win. The Maroons made the final two games of the match close, but the Ponies prevailed 25-20 and 25-21.
"We started off really well against Butte Central," Huebsch said. "Kristi Owens and Kelsey Smith did a real nice job killing the ball and I thought as a team we passed the ball really well."
"We made a couple of mistakes late in the match and let (Butte Central) hang around," Huebsh added. "But overall it was a real nice win for us."
Owens led the way for the Ponies with 14 kills, eight digs and five aces. Smith added eight kills, five blocks and a pair of aces. Sophomore Alexa Lipp added 31 assists in the win.
After the win over the Maroons, the Ponies moved on to capture a straight set win over Anaconda. Havre dominated the Copperheads by scores of 25-14, 25-15 and 25-17.
"The girls all played really well against Anaconda," Huebsch said. "They were really dominant. Alicia Overcast got going in that match and I can't say enough about the play of Alexa Lipp. For a sophomore to have 51 assists in her first varsity matches is just outstanding."
Overcast led all players with 11 kills while Owens added 10. Kelsey Evans added nine digs and four aces, and Kari Bolken also had four aces.
In all, the pair of conference wins has Huebsch excited about the season, but he is quick to point out that his team has a lot of things to work on and that there is a lot of volleyball left to be played.
"As a coach you hope that a day like we had on Saturday will give your team a lot of confidence because we are going to have some really tough matches down the road," Huebsch said. "But I think overall we got a lot out of this weekend because all our sophomores got a lot of experience and they contributed a lot to these wins and I think that that was really important for us at this point."
Next up for the Ponies (2-0) will be another Central A Conference tilt on Friday night in Belgrade against the host Panthers. On Saturday, the Ponies will take part in the Central A Volleyball Extravaganza.