Havre Daily News Sports Editor
Thursday night the Havre High volleyball team got a sour taste of what karma is all about. Less than a week after a dramatic, come-from-behind win in the Central A divisional championship against Lewistown, the Ponies found themselves on the other end of the spectrum in their quarterfinal match with Hardin at the Class A state tournament in Bozeman.
The Ponies grabbed a 2-0 lead over the Bulldogs by scores of 27-25 and 25-18, and appeared poised for a trip to tonight's undefeated semifinal match.
Instead, the Bulldogs awoke from their slumber and rallied to win the final three games by scores of 25-13, 25-23 and 15-9, and send Havre into today's loser-out round.
Game three was obviously the turning point for Hardin as Havre's normally high-octane offense managed just 13 total points.
Hardin's Cassie Hodges, who is considered by many as the top middle hitter in Montana, was unstoppable. She racked up 23 kills and six blocks against a usually stingy Havre defense.
The Ponies got 13 kills from Carmen Neuens. Senior Alexa Lipp also put her best foot forward in the loss, with 40 assists, three aces and two blocks.
The win pushed Hardin into tonight's semifinal, where it will face heavily favored defending state champion Whitefish.
The Ponies await the winner of this morning's loser-out match between fellow Central A member Lewistown and Glendive. Havre's loser-out match will get under way at 2 p.m. If the Ponies prevail, they will move on to tonight's loser-out fourth-place match, which is scheduled for 6 p.m.
Earlier in the day, Havre had no trouble getting past the Bigfork Valkyries in the opening round. Havre cruised in the first two games, winning by lopsided scores of 25-13 in both. After dropping the third game, HHS finished Bigfork off with an easy 25-10 win in game four to advance to the quarterfinals.
Sophomore Signe Hillson led the way with 11 kills and two blocks. Senior Kelsey Evans also had a fine all-round match, with 15 digs and two aces.
In other first-round action, Anaconda defeated Glendive, Whitefish breezed past Lewistown and Hardin snuck past Corvallis.
State A in Bozeman
Havre def. Bigfork
25-13, 25-13, 19-25, 25-10
Bigfork - Kills: 21 (Alyssa Fierro 7). Aces: 9 (3 with 3). Assists: 16 (Cayla Fox 8). Digs: 46 (Mary Hall 13). Blocks: 8 (Fierro 3, Leslie Johnson 3).
Havre - Kills: 48 (Signe Hillson 11). Aces: 5 (Kelsey Evans 2). Assists: 43 (Alexa Lipp 43). Digs: 66 (Evans 15). Blocks: 6 (Hillson 2).
Hardin def. Havre
25-27, 18-25, 25-13, 25-23, 15-9
Havre - Kills: 49 (Carmen Neuens 13). Assists: 40 (Alexa Lipp 40). Aces: 8 (Lipp 3). Digs: 71 (Lena Suek 18). Blocks: 4 (Lipp 2).
Hardin - Kills: 54 (Cassie Hodges 23). Assists: 47 (Darcy Torske 41). Aces: 4 (Maggie Joyce 2). Digs: 91 (Torske 20). Blocks: 16 (Joyce, Hodges 6 ea.).