By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
The Havre High volleyball team has one week to do whatever it needs to get done in order to get prepared for the Central A divisional tournament next weekend. Part of that preparation begins tonight, when the Ponies travel to Livingston for their final conference match of the season with the Livingston Runnin' Rangers.
The Ponies will remain in Livingston on Saturday to take part in the Windy City Classic volleyball invitational. The tournament will get underway Saturday morning with pool play. Havre will play three matches in pool play and then be seeded into Saturday afternoon's double-elimination tournament bracket.
For head coach Bill Huebsch and his squad, the weekend will offer a chance to send a message to teams in the Central A.
"We talked about going down there and showing the other teams in the conference that if you play against us, it's going to be tough."
The Ponies enter this weekend's matches with a 11-7 overall record and a 6-3 mark in conference play. Havre has secured the No. 2 seed out of the Central A North Division which gives them a first-round meeting with Anaconda in next week's Central A divisional tournament.
This weekend might as well be called the Central A pre-divisional because the only teams that will be in Livingston will be Central A squads.
"None of the AA schools will be there which is kind of disappointing," Huebsch said. "It always used to be nice to play some of the better AA schools and challenge yourself a week before divisionals, but they aren't going to be there."
Instead, the Ponies will face the same teams they will face a week from now. However just because Havre has sewn up the second seed at divisionals, it doesn't mean this weekend has no importance. Huebsch wants to set the tone for his team this weekend by picking up some wins and gaining some momentum for next weekend.
"We talked about getting some confidence for divisionals," Huebsch said. "We get one more look at everyone else and see how much they've improved compared to how much we've improved."
But beating opponents isn't just about gaining confidence for the Ponies, it's also about taking a little confidence away from their opponents.
"You want to beat those teams and plant that little seed of doubt in the minds," Huebsch said. "It can be a mental thing. We want them to leave the match, knowing if they play us at divisionals they're going to have their hands full."
Huebsch hopes to make quick work of Livingston tonight and get on to tournament play on Saturday where they will face the Rangers, Lewistown and Butte Central in pool play on Saturday morning.
"We get to see Lewistown one more time which will be good," Huebsch said. "It sounds like Butte Central has gotten much better, they beat Dillon last week."
The biggest thing for Huebsch is that his team continue to progress with the reaching its most critical point.
"It's almost like your season is starting over this time of the year," Huebsch said. "This has really come along way this season and they're so close to where we want to be."
Havre and Livingston will begin tonight at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Havre will face Livingston again at 9 a.m., Lewistown at 10:30 a.m. and Butte Central at 11:30 a.m. in pool play. The elimination tournament will begin at 1 p.m.