By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
The Havre High volleyball team had a busy road trip this weekend when it traveled to Livingston. But the results were anything but consistent for head coach Bill Huebsch's young team.
The Ponies picked up a pair of very critical Central A conference wins on Friday night as they downed Belgrade and Livingston.
However, the Ponies didn't appear to be the same team on Saturday morning in pool play at the Windy City Classic as they went 1-3. Havre then went 1-1 on the day in tournament action to finish their weekend.
"It was a tale of two different teams this weekend," Huebsch said. "The kids played great volleyball on Friday night. We just dominated from start to finish and that is exactly what we needed to do because they were very important matches.
"But Saturday it was like we were a completely different team," he added. "We made a lot of hitting errors in pool play and we just didn't play well at all."
The Ponies opened the weekend with a route of the Belgrade Panthers. Havre started the night off well by winning the first two games 25-21 and 25-18.
The Ponies were cruising in the fourth when outside hitter Liz Handy suffered an ankle injury. Belgrade fought its way back into the game, but the Ponies got a lift from their bench and were able to close the Panthers out 25-22.
"When Liz went down, Cammie West came in and did a great job for us playing a position she is not used to at all," Huebsch said. "I was extremely proud of her and the rest of the team for fighting through that adversity and finishing that game off."
Havre also picked up a very important win over host Livingston on Friday night. Havre was rock solid in the match, winning by scores of 25-10, 25-19 and 25-16.
"Friday night we came out and we were fired up to play and our intensity was way up," Huebsch said. "We were concerned with Livingston's size and what they could do against us, but our kids played so well, that we were able to take them out of any offense they were trying to run against us early. We just rolled through that match."
Lena Suek and Handy led the way against the Rangers with five kills a piece. Senior captain Kristen Evanson also had a big match for the Ponies with 11 digs and a game-high five service aces.
For as well as things went on Friday night for Havre, the same could not be said for Saturday morning. Havre opened pool play of the Windy City Classic by blowing a huge lead against Browning and falling 25-23. The Ponies then went on to lose to Class C powerhouse Bridger 24-13 and Class B standout Manhattan Christian 25-14. They finally got a win in their final game of pool play when they edged Belgrade 27-25.
"Obviously we were not very happy with the way we played in pool play," Huebsch said. "Our younger kids made some hitting errors that were really costly overall. But I like the way they responded in the tournament. Hopefully they learned a lot from our games in the morning.
"But you have to give a lot of credit to the teams we played," Huebsch added. "Bridger is a very good team and they have won several Class C state championships. And Manhattan Christian is a very good team and Browning has also improved a lot from last season, so we faced some very good competition during pool play."
Havre opened the single-elimination tournament with an easy victory over Butte Central by scores of 25-12 and 25-22. But the Ponies then ran into a buzzsaw in Class B title contender Townsend.
The Bulldogs easily dispatched the Ponies by scores of 25-12 and 25-18. Townsend went on to beat defending Class A state champion Lewistown and the Billings Senior junior varsity team to capture the tournament.
"I was really happy with how we played against Butte Central," Huebsch said. "We played much better against them than we did last week in Havre and that is very encouraging.
"You can't take anything away from what Townsend did this weekend," he added. "They ran right through us and I don't think we played badly. They are a very good volleyball team."
Despite Havre's troubles in pool play, the Ponies won three out of the four full matches they played over the weekend. Huebsch understands that the season is still young and is is not discouraged from what he saw in Livingston.
"I would like to think that the kids aren't happy with our overall performance this weekend and that they are going to take away some valuable experience," Huebsch said. "Our goal was to take care of things Friday night and we did that. Now we have to work on what went wrong this weekend and get prepared for Great Falls."
The Ponies will be back in action on Friday morning when they travel to Great Falls for the prestigious Electric City Invitational.
Havre def. Livingston
25-10, 25-19, 25-16
Havre - Kills: 21 (Lena Suek 5, Liz Handy 5). Assists: 20 (Alexa Lipp 20). Aces: 15 (Kristin Evanson 5). Digs: 40 (Evanson 11). Blocks: 4 (Sjanetee D'Hooge 2).
Livingston - Kills: 15 (Shannon Bosley 6). Assists: 13 (Kelsey Joronen 7). Aces: 2 (Brianna Ackerman 2). Digs: 7 (Agnes Kesting 3). Blocks: 3.
Havre def. Belgrade
25-21, 25-18, 25-22
Havre - Kills: 20 (Handy 5). Assists: 17 (Lipp 16). Aces: 12 (Kelsey Evans 8). Digs: 33 (Karissa Olson 7, Lipp 7). Blocks: 4 (Suek 2).
Belgrade - Kills: 22 (Amy Bolen 7, Jessica Hespen 7). Assists: 22 (Necia Knuchel 13). Aces: 2 (Jillian Hoblitt 2). Digs: 15 (Bolen 5). Blocks: 19 (Brailey Williams 6).
Windy City Classic at Livingston
Pool A - Billings Senior JV def. Livingston 25-20; Lewistown def. Butte Central 25-13; Townsend def. Livingston 25-17; Billings Senior JV def. Lewistown 25-19; Townsend def. Butte Central 25-22; Lewistown def. Livingston 25-16; Townsend def. Billings Senior JV 25-13; Livingston def. Butte Central 25-22; Townsend def. Lewistown 25-19; Butte Central def. Billings Senior JV 26-24.
Pool B - Browning def. Havre 25-23; Manhattan Christian def. Belgrade 25-22; Bridger def. Browning 26-24; Manhattan Christian def. Havre 25-14; Belgrade def. Bridger 25-15; Manhattan Christian def. Browning 25-13; Browning def. Belgrade 26-24; Manhattan Christian def. Bridger 25-11; Havre def. Belgrade 27-25.
Havre def. Butte Central 25-12, 25-22
Townsend def. Havre 25-12, 25-18
Lewistown def. Bridger 25-15, 25-15
Townsend def. Lewistown 25-14, 22-25, 15-9 (semifinal)
Belgrade def. Livingston 25-16, 25-22
Billings Senior JV def. Browning 19-25, 25-13, 15-12
Manhattan Christian def. Belgrade 13-25, 25-20, 15-11
Billings Senior JV def. Manhattan Christian 22-25, 25-15, 15-10 (semifinal)
Townsend def. Billings Senior JV 25-14, 25-13