Chris Peterson Havre Daily News email@example.com
Emotions will be riding high Saturday night at the Havre High gymnasium when the Havre High volleyball team plays host to arch rival Lewistown on senior night and the regular season finale for both teams. “It’s going to be an emotional night,” HHS head coach Bill Huebsch said. “It will be senior night for our team. It’s the final conference game of the year against a team that may be unbeaten in conference play and it is Lewistown. “There is a big rivalry between the two teams and they feel the same way about us as we do about them,” he added. “If both of us were 0-9 in conference coming into this game it would still be important.” Not only are bragging rights in the long standing rivalry on the line Saturday night, but the outcome of the Central A regular season standings will be determined in large part by what happens between the Ponies and the Eagles. The Eagles are currently in first place in the conference with an 8-0 record, followed by Havre and Belgrade both of which are tied for second place at 7-2. Mathematically, all three teams still have a chance to claim the Central A regular season conference title. But for that to happen, Lewistown would have to lose to Belgrade Thursday night and then turn around and lose to Havre on Saturday. If that happened, there would be a three-way tie, which would be decided by points. Second place in the conference and the choice for a bye in the first round of the divisional tournament is also still up for grabs. If Lewistown defeats Belgrade and Havre defeats Lewistown, Havre would end up in second, but if Belgrade wins and Havre loses, then Belgrade would finish second. If both teams win against Lewistown, then Belgrade would finish second because it currently holds the tiebreaker over the Ponies. “Mathematically, all three teams still have a chance to take home the regular season title,” Huebsch said. “But it is going to be tough for anyone to catch Lewistown. All we can do is go out and win and then see what happens. But conference standings aside, a win over Lewistown would give us a big momentum boost going into the divisional tournament.” In the first match between Havre and Lewistown, the Ponies won the first game, only to have the Eagles win the next three in dominating fashion. But the Ponies feel that they are better this time around and that they are better equipped to handle a very talented Lewistown team. “I think athletically we match up pretty well against them,” Huebsch said. “We went down there and captured the first game, but then we just made too many mistakes and dug ourselves a hole. You can’t do that against Lewistown.” The Eagles are led by Katie d’Autremont, who is currently second in the Central A in kills per match and is possibly the Eagles’ top hitter. Lewistown also has a number of other solid players such as Arielle Allen, who had 12 kills and four blocks against the Ponies, and Lyndsi Bayless and Ashley Boettger. Boettger had 43 assists in the first match against the Ponies. “They are a very good team,” Huebsch said. “And we are going to have to play well defensively if we want to win this match. We are going to have to serve tough to take them out of their rhythm and we also have to do much better on the block.” Havre will counter with Signe Hillson, who is coming off of a 14-kill, six-block game against Belgrade last Saturday. The Ponies will also count on Lena Suek, who had 15 kills and 16 digs in the first meeting, and Carmen Neuens and Steph Stremcha. “Signe has really stepped up her game and become a force in the middle,” Huebsch said. “She has given us another option in the middle and she has really opened up things for Lena, Steph, Carmen and everybody else. “This is just a big game for our team,” he added. “The girls are really excited about getting another shot at them. And a win would not only help us in the standings, but a win would give us three straight conference wins to end the season and a lot of confidence going into divisionals.” Before the match, Havre will honor seniors Emily Ulgenes, Larissa Hand, Erika Briese, Suek and Neuens, as it will be the final time they play in the HHS gymnasium. The match between Havre High and Lewistown will get under way Saturday at 6 p.m. in the HHS gymnasium. The freshmen and junior varsity matches will begin at 4:30 p.m.