Chris Peterson Havre Daily News firstname.lastname@example.org
On the last day of the regular season, the Havre High volleyball team closed the conference schedule in style, proving the team’s readiness for postseason play. The Blue Ponies needed to win both games Saturday in Browning to finish second in the Central A, and earn the number two seed for the divisional tournament. And that is exactly what the Ponies did, knocking off Livingston in four games by the scores of 28-30, 25- 14, 25-14 and 25-16. Then Havre took on third-place Belgrade in the regular season finale and won impressively in three games by the scores of 26-24, 25-19 and 25-19. Havre finished the season 8-2 in conference play as well as 15-5 overall, following the two victories. The wins also gave Havre the choice of a bye for the first round of the divisional tournament. “It was nice to finish off the season with two wins,” HHS head coach Bill Huebsch said. “We knew that these were two important matches for us to win. We controlled our own destiny and the girls were able to get the job done and determine who we play and when we play.” The Ponies got off to a bit of a slow start against Livingston, dropping the first game by the score of 30-28. However, the Ponies quickly recovered to win the final three games with ease to earn the season sweep over Livingston. “We were kind of worried about being a little rusty due to the week off and we were in that first game,” Huebsch said. “But the girls did a really nice job of coming back and winning the match. It was interesting to see how we would respond after falling behind in the match and I was really proud of the way the girls came back.” Senior standout Signe Hillson had another outstanding performance with 16 kills and 3.5 blocks to spark Havre to victory. Chelsea Harper also had a solid performance in the win with 41 assists and four aces. Steph Stremcha contributed in the win with an impressive total of 14 digs. Livingston senior Sage Indendi had a solid match in a losing effort with 13 kills and 14 digs to lead the Rangers. Jamie Van Horn had four blocks in the loss for Livingston. After dispatching Livingston, the Ponies turned their attention to the Belgrade Panthers. Havre and Belgrade went to a tiebreaker in the first game before the Ponies captured the game 26-24. The Ponies then won the next two games 25-19 to ensure a three-game sweep of the Panthers for the second time this season. “It’s tough to play two matches back-to-back like that,” Huebsch said. “So I was pretty proud of the way that the girls played. We were able to win both matches and we were able to win them in two completely different ways. One match we relied a lot on our hitting and another match we relied more on our passing and our defense to win the match.” Hillson had another stellar match with 12 kills and a block to lead Havre to the second win of the day. Harper put together another strong effort with 28 assists, while Stremcha put together another strong defensive effort, notching a team-high 11 digs. Katie Mariani pitched in with six aces. Jillian Gue and Sadie Locken both had seven kills and an ace in the loss for the Panthers. Brittney Harvey also added 12 digs in the defeat. The Ponies will now prepare for the Central A divisional tournament, which begins Friday in Lewistown. By way of the Ponies' second-place finish, they have the choice of taking a bye in the first round or playing in the first round. If they choose to play, Havre would meet Browning in the first round and Belgrade would receive the first-round bye. If Havre decides to accept the bye, they will meet the winner of Browning and Belgrade in the second round.