By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sports/ firstname.lastname@example.org
For the second straight weekend, the Havre High volleyball team will be making a very important trek to Lewistown for a pair of critical Central A Conference matches.
Unlike last weekend, when the Ponies played just once against the Dillon Beavers, this time around Havre will play twice, including a critical matchup with the host and conference-leading Lewistown Eagles. Havre will also square off against Livingston to open Saturday's triangular.
"This is a very big weekend for us for several reasons," said Havre High head coach Bill Huebsch. "First, we get another opportunity to play Lewistown and we are very excited about that. But the fact that there are two conference matches on Saturday is also important because after that we don't play any teams in our conference until two weeks before the divisional tournament. So these matches become very critical."
The Ponies will open play with Livingston, which is a team Havre has already defeated once this season. The Rangers will come into Saturday fresh off of a five-game loss at the hands of Belgrade.
Huebsch believes the match with the struggling Rangers is very critical to Havre's success on Saturday and down the road.
"It is very important for us to get off to a good start against Livingston," Huebsch said. "We need to play well early and then hopefully we can put them away. I think if we can accomplish that then our girls will feel pretty good heading into the match with Lewistown."
The matchup with the host Eagles will be the second time that the Ponies have seen them this season. Lewistown downed Havre in two games at the Electric City Invitational last month. Overall, the Eagles (7-3, 4-0) have beaten the Ponies seven straight times dating back to the beginning of last season, but Huebsch said his team is feeling good about its chances of knocking off Lewistown this season.
"I think the girls have a lot more confidence in playing Lewistown than they may have in the past," Huebsch said. "They know that as a team we have been playing very well so far this season, and that we have come a long way even from when we played them in August.
"We watched some film of our match with them in Great Falls and the kids could see the mistakes that we made that cost us some critical points," Huebsch added. "The good thing is that we are a much better team now than we were then. And we are going to keep improving. We're just not making those same mistakes now."
While the young Ponies have made great strides from the beginning of the season, Huebsch is also realistic about what his team is trying to accomplish this weekend.
"The girls understand that anything less than a split in the two matches is unacceptable," Huebsch said. "Of course we want to win both, but we also understand that Lewistown is still a very good team and as it stands we have not even taken a game from them yet. We have to win that first one before we take that next step. If we play well enough, then maybe we can make that happen this weekend."