Havre Daily News Sports
Havre High head volleyball coach Bill Huebsch has been wanting to play a tough, hard-fought match for quite some time now. On Friday night at the Havre High gymnasium, he finally got his wish.
The Havre High volleyball team was pushed to the brink against Class AA Great Falls High. The Ponies outlasted the Bison in five grueling games, by scores of 13-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-16 and 15-11.
”A lot of good things happened to us against GFH,“ an elated Huebsch said. ”But the biggest thing was just how the girls handled the pressure of playing five games against a very good team.
”All season we have either won matches 3-0 or lost matches 3-0,“ he added. ”So I was really interested to see how we would handle playing five games.“
The Ponies handled the intensity of a five-game match with poise and maturity, which is just what you would expect from a veteran team. Havre was on the edge of elimination twice Friday night, but by the fifth game, the Ponies took command of the situation and never let go, putting the Bison away 15-11.
”I really liked what I saw from our team late in the match,“ Huebsch said. ”We weren't tired and I think they (GFH) may have been a little tired.
”Our kids really stuck together and played really well as the match went on,“ he added. ”In the fifth game, we went out there and took control and finished the match off. That is what you want to see from your team at this point in the season.“
Things didn't start out as well as they ended for Havre. The Bison overwhelmed the Ponies in the first game, 25-13. Havre did not pass or hit the ball particularly well in the opening game and the Bison made the Ponies pay for their mistakes.
”We really didn't start off well at all,“ Huebsch said. ”We passed the ball very poorly. But that is what I really liked about our team on Friday. They were able to go out and turn things around pretty quickly.“
Indeed, the Ponies got their offense rolling in the second game. Senior Keelie Solomon served the ball particularly well in game two, and sophomore Signe Hillson began to assert herself at the net with a couple of blocks. GFH managed to rally late in the game, but the Ponies put the Bison away on an Alexa Lipp kill, evening the match at 1-1.
Game three was just as close as the second game as the Ponies fell 27-25, despite some great hitting from Lena Suek and Carmen Neuens. The loss in game three put the Ponies' backs against the wall yet again, and again they responded.
Havre came out firing on all cylinders in the fourth game and never let the Bison into the fight. Neuens continued to hit the ball well, and senior Kelsey Evans served outstandingly as the Ponies rolled to an easy 25-16 win.
Havre's dominance in the fourth game set the stage for its easy win in game five, and Huebsch said the way the Ponies responded in game four was indeed the difference in the match.
”We did a lot of things right on Friday night,“ Huebsch said. ”But I just think the fact that we were able to play so well when we had to was huge.
”Lena hit the ball extremely well and Kelsey Evans did a great job serving and passing the ball. I think we just started to really build some momentum late in the third game and it carried us the rest of the way,“ he added.
The Ponies got a huge offensive effort from Suek, and she also starred on defense. Suek had a match-high 15 kills and added 18 digs. Sjantee D'Hooge and Liz Handy had eight kills apiece, and Evans added 18 digs and a pair of service aces.
The Bison were paced by Kiri Winkler's 15 kills and three blocks. She also added three aces in the loss.
As much as Havre did right against the Bison on Friday night, they did just about as much wrong in a three-game loss at CM Russell in Great Falls on Saturday afternoon. The Ponies started off slowly once again, but this time they were unable to recover, dropping the match to the Rustlers by scores of 25-21, 25-14 and 25-21.
”We started the match against CMR the same way we did against Great Falls High,“ Huebsch said. ”We just didn't pass the ball well at all and we didn't defend it well either. ”We just never got on track, and I'm not really sure why,“ he added. ”A lot of things went wrong for us on Saturday.“
The Ponies' kill total was low, even for a three-game match. Havre had 21 kills on the night and had its worst serving night of the season, totaling just one ace. Suek paced Havre offensively with seven kills, while Evans led the defensive charge once again with 18 digs.
CMR got an outstanding night from senior Quincy Carter. Carter had 15 of CMR's 41 kills on the night. Dani Manchester added nine kills in the win. The Rustlers also had six aces as a team.
”It is disappointing to beat GFH the way we did and then go to CMR and lose like that,“ Huebsch said. ”But we still managed a split this weekend and we had a lot of positive things happen to us. This was the first time we have beaten GFH in five years.“
The Ponies are 11-4 overall and 5-0 in Central A Conference play. Havre will now get ready to travel to archrival Lewistown on Saturday night. The Ponies won't be back in Havre until Oct. 22 when they host Class B Choteau.
Havre def. GFH 13-25, 26-24, 25-27, 25-16, 15-11
Havre - Kills 53 (Lena Suek 15, Sjanetee D'Hooge 8), Blocks 8 (Signe Hillson 2, D'Hooge 2), Assists 43 (Alexa Lipp 40), Digs 80 (Lena Suek 18, Kelsey Evans 18), Aces 9 (Liz Handy 2, Keelie Solomon 2, Lipp2, Evans 2).
GSH - Kills 42 (Kiri Winkler 14, Bridget Walsh 9), Blocks 3 (Winkler 3), Assists 38 (Amanda Jacobsen 32), Digs 59 (Tara Udall 17, Becca Price 14), Aces 14 (Jacobsen 4, Winkler 3).
CMR def Havre 25-21, 25-14, 25-21
CMR - Kills 41 (Quincy Carter 15, Dani Manchester 9), Assists 37 (Emily Horton 18), Aces 6 (Dani Walsh 2), Digs 41 (Walsh 9, Jill Zeren 7), Blocks 9 (Amanda Barringer 6).
Havre - Kills 21 (Lena Suek 7), Assists 30 (Alexa Lipp 20), Aces 1 (Liz Handy), Digs 35 (Kelsey Evans 11), Blocks 2 (Signe Hillson 1).