By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsfirstname.lastname@example.org
After a thrilling five-game win against the Butte Central Maroons in Havre last Saturday, the Havre High volleyball team will take to the road for the first time in 2004.
The Ponies (1-0) are in Livingston today for a pair of Central A conference matches against the Livingston Rangers and Belgrade Panthers. The Ponies will also be in action on Saturday when they participate in the Windy City Classic, also in Livingston.
"This is a big weekend for us in several respects, especially on Friday night," said HHS head coach Bill Huebsch before the team left. "Both matches are conference matches and they are very important for us.
"I also like this weekend because we will play a lot of games over the two days," Huebsch added. "This tournament will give us the opportunity to play a lot and get some experience for our younger players."
As for tonight, the Ponies have a tall order when they face the Rangers and Panthers. Tall, as in Livingston's 6-3 senior Shannon Bosley. Belgrade also possesses two sophomores that stand 6-1 or better. The size at the net will be a new challenge for Huebsch's young team.
"Bosley will definitely cause us some problems at the net," Huebsch said. "Anytime you have someone that tall it presents a challenge for your hitters, and it will definitely be a new test for our young hitters.
"Both teams should have a strong block against us," Huebsch added. "So our hitters will have to be very smart with what they do with the ball this weekend. We will have to be able to take advantage of when their taller players go to the back row. That should be when we will be able to go on some scoring runs."
After the two conference matches on tonight, Havre will be in action in pool play at the Windy City Classic.
The Ponies will be in Pool B on Saturday with several solid teams. Havre will play Browning at 9 a.m., Manhattan Christian at 10:30, Bridger at noon and Belgrade at 1:30 p.m. The tournament also feature the host Rangers, Butte Central, Billings Senior junior varsity, Townsend and the defending Class A state champion Lewistown Eagles.
"This tournament will be a good test for our kids," Huebsch said. "We will be on the floor a lot on Saturday. This will be a good opportunity for our kids to get some more varsity experience and get some of the nervousness out of the way.
"We have been working hard in practice in all week," Huebsch added. "We have been focusing especially hard on working against the block."
Huebsch's team was somewhat inconsistent in its season opener, which is expected from a young team. But he hopes there is an improvement from last weekend.
"Hopefully we have learned something from the mistakes we made against Butte Central and we will be better in those areas this weekend," he said.
The Ponies will face Belgrade at 5 p.m. and Livingston at 7 p.m. tonight. The Windy City Classic gets under way Saturday morning when the Ponies take on Browning in pool play. The single elimination tournament will get under way at 2 p.m.