By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
Now isn't the time to let up for the Havre High tennis team; not with the Central A Divisional tournament a mere week away.
The Ponies will travel to Lewistown on Saturday for the Fergus Dual tournament, and head coach George Ferguson expects his team to play as if the divisional tournament is this weekend.
"We need to start focusing on the court, because this is our last competition before divisional," Ferguson said. "We want to go into divisional playing our best tennis, and it starts on Saturday."
The Havre girls will play three matches and the boys team will play two. Ferguson isn't quite sure whom the girls are dualing. The only opponent that the HHS girls are certain to play is perennial Central A power Livingston.
"Because of scheduling changes we're not really sure who else we'll face on Saturday," Ferguson said. "But we know Dillon and Lewistown are both in attendance, and either one of those teams will be a good test for us."
The Rangers have won the Central A the last five years and Ferguson is eager to see how his team stacks up against them.
"We are really looking forward to dualing Livingston," he said. "They have been the standard by which everyone is measured in our division for a long time and going head to head with them will give us a good idea of where our girls program is at right now."
Havre will take its usual lineup of Amy McLain at No. 1, Megan Rice at No. 2, Karissa Olson at No. 3 and Christen Kittleson at No. 4.
"I would like to see Amy, Megan, Karissa and Christen continue to play well this weekend," Ferguson said. "Our singles play has really been the backbone of our girls team all season, and if they all do well this weekend it will only give our whole team a lot of confidence as we get to the divisional tournament."
The doubles lineup will also be the same with Keelie Solomon and Steph Flatau at No. 1, Kari Gorder and Kristi Hollingshead at No. 2 and Jocelyn Chagnon and Molly Proctor at No. 3.
"This is also a very important weekend for Steph and Keelie," Ferguson said. "Aside from them, there will be three very good doubles teams in Lewistown this weekend.
"Livingston's No.1 team is very solid and Dillon and Lewistown already have wins over us this year, so it is really big for them to go out and prove that they can play with these teams."
The boys team will square off against Billings Central and Hardin in what should be relatively easy wins.
Because his boys teams should win, Ferguson isn't about to let them coast on Saturday. He will take his usual singles' lineup of Daine Solomon at No. 1, Kyle Baltrusch at No. 2, Chase Castloo at No. 3 and Scott Miller at No. 4.
The doubles teams will consist of Marc Mariani and Gary Wagner at No. 1, Coda Tchida and Billy Wagner at No. 2 and John Christian and Lucas Hamilton at No. 3.
"For Kyle and Daine and Marc and Gary, it is about staying focused and staying sharp," Ferguson said. "They are all playing very good tennis and I think they are ready for the post season. Now they just need to fine tune some things and work on staying focused."
With his team preparing for the postseason, Ferguson is quick to admit how important the other players are to a run at a fifth straight state title.
"Our depth is still a concern at this point," he said. "We have a large number of kids who are just finishing their first varsity season of tennis. This weekend will be the last chance for those kids to really go out and gain some confidence and establish themselves as divisional and state tournament contenders. Hopefully, they are focused and determined to go out and play with something to prove."