By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
The good news for the Havre High volleyball team this week is that it has had a week to recover from a grueling three-match stretch last weekend.
Even better news: the Ponies will play just once this weekend. However, that one match will come on Saturday when the Ponies host the Class AA CMR Rustlers for a nonconference tilt at the HHS gymnasium.
The Ponies are coming off a tough week in which they were drubbed at home by Lewistown last Thursday. Havre then rebounded to pull out a marathon five-game win over Cut Bank in Havre on Friday night, before falling in three games to Great Falls High on Saturday afternoon.
Now the struggling Rustlers come calling, and Havre High head coach Bill Huebsch said that Saturday's match with CMR will be another measuring stick for his young Ponies.
"It will be interesting to see how the girls respond to last weekend," Huebsch said. "It was a difficult three matches for us. One thing is for sure though; we had a good week of practice and I think we have recovered physically."
Usually when Havre plays a Class AA school, it is undoubtedly the underdog, but that hasn't been the case recently when the Ponies face the Rustlers.
Havre easily handled the Rustlers in three games in Great Falls last season and they split a pair of games in pool play at the Electric City Classic this season.
CMR comes into Saturday's match-up with the Ponies with just three wins all season and no victories in the Eastern AA conference. The Rustlers will also be without star hitter Shantel Marquis for the remainder of the season. Marquis suffered a foot injury that will sideline her indefinitely.
So with things looking bleak for the Rustlers these days, it would seem that this should be an another easy win for the Ponies. But Huebsch knows that that will not be the case on Saturday.
"We talked about the fact that we can't overlook anybody because that is an easy way to get beat," he said. "Even though we are the Class A school, CMR is a team that has nothing to lose against us. I am sure they will be fired up and ready to play us."
Another reason the Ponies will have to be on top of things is because of the way the two teams match up and the strong similarities between the two. Neither team should have a distinct advantage on Saturday evening
"CMR has a team a lot like us," Huebsch said. "They are like us in that they are not very big, and they are a strong serve-receive team like us, as well.
"I think we match up well with them," he added. "This match for us will come down to handling their serve and passing the ball well. If we do that and our hitters have a good day, we should be in good shape."
The nonconference match between Havre and CMR will get under way at 5 p.m. on Saturday at the Havre High gymnasium.