By George Ferguson/Havre Daily News Sportsemail@example.com
It is hard to dwell on a tough loss when your schedule doesn't permit it. The Havre High volleyball team will make the long trek along Highway 2 west to face the Browning Indians in another pivotal Central A conference match, just days after another long road trip and its first conference loss.
Havre (7-4, 4-1) is just four days removed from a gut-wrenching five-game loss to the Butte Central Maroons on Saturday afternoon in Butte.
The Ponies had several chances to put the Maroons away and pick up a third win over them this season. But hitting errors and crucial service mistakes cost the Ponies a shot at still being undefeated in the Central A, coming into tonight's match with Browning.
Hitting has been Havre's Achilles heel throughout the season and head coach Bill Huebsch said it is hopefully time to turn the corner and become a solid all-around team.
"We haven't had a lot of time to prepare this week because it is a short week for us," Huebsch said. "But we have concentrated our entire practice on hitting because that is definitely our glaring weakness right now.
"I thought we put together a really good match against Chinook, but other than that, we haven't hit the ball with any consistency," Huebsch added. "It has hurt us because we have lost some very close games this season.
"The kids understand what they need to do and what it will take for us to get better. I think we are getting there but it will take some time."
Other than Havre's hitting woes, the young Ponies have gelled in all other phases of the game. Havre is very strong defensively with the likes of Kelsey Evans, Keelie Solomon and Karissa Olson in the back row.
Havre is also among the conference leaders in serving this season and senior Kristin Evanson leads the team in aces.
"All of the pieces are there for us and our hitters are coming around," Huebsch said. "We just need to find some consistency in putting the ball away when we have chances, and we will win those close games."
Havre will be up for another stern test tonight. Browning is not traditionally one of the top teams in the Central A conference and they have had to deal with the loss of graduated all-stater Tamara Guardipee.
Still, the Indians are much improved this season and they stole a game from the Ponies in pool play at the Windy City Classic in Livingston earlier this season.
The Indians will also outsize Havre in the front row and have a standout player in 6-0 senior Jenna Skunkcap. Huebsch said that containing Skunkcap will be paramount if Havre is to escape with an important conference victory.
"Skunkcap can create some big problems for us at the net," Huebsch said. "It will be key for our blocker to recognize where she is at all times and defend her.
"They are a very athletic team and they are strong in the front row," Huebsch added. "But I think that if we do our job at the net and if we are better at terminating the ball, we should be fine."
The Central A conference match between Havre and Browning is scheduled to get underway tonight at 7 p.m. at the Browning High School gymnasium.