George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
It wasn’t that long ago that the Havre High volleyball team made a surprise run to the Class A state championship match, finishing runnerup to the Whitefish Bulldogs. And on Thursday night i n Bozeman, the Blue Ponies put the Bulldogs in their rearview mirror and are now one win away from playing for the 2007 Class A state title. Havre opened play at the 2007 Class A state tournament in Bozeman on Thursday afternoon with a four-game win over Southwestern A champion Dillon, and then in the second round on Thursday night, the Ponies upended the three-time state champion Bulldogs in five thrilling games. Havre took to the floor against Whitefish not long after it outlasted Di l lon. And the Ponies found themselves with their backs against the wall, trailing the Bulldogs 2-1. HHS did win the first game of the match 25-17, but dropped the next two by scores of 16-25 and 23-25. However, HHS rebounded and captured the must-win fourth game easily, 25-17, forcing a decisive fifth game. And in that fifth game, HHS and Whitefish went back-and-forth, and both teams served for match on several occasions. However, at 15-15, the Ponies gained and edge and were able to close out the Bulldogs on the next point, wining the dramatic fifth game, 17-15. As expected, HHS senior Signe Hillson was a huge factor in the match, racking up a remarkable 24 kills and three blocks. Defensively, the Ponies also got 21 digs apiece from Katie Mariani and Steph Stremcha, and Mariani chipped in with four service aces. Whitefish did get 24 kills and 24 digs from two-time all-state hitter Ashley Ferda in the loss. The win means that the Ponies will play Lewistown for the right to move into Saturday afternoon’s state championship match. Havre hasn’t beaten Lewistown in five tries this season, but the Ponies are the only Class A team to even take the powerful Eagles to four games. Havre is 18-7 on the year with five of those losses coming at the hands of the Eagles, who cruised to victories over Anaconda and Libby on Thursday. The Ponies reached their dramatic match with Whitefish via a Thursday afternoon win over Dillon. The Beavers were much taller in the front than HHS, but the Ponies played stellar defense en route to a 17-25, 25-21, 25-23 and 25-14 victory. Hillson led the way for HHS with 16 kills and four blocks, while Chelsea Harper had 42 assists and Mariani added 24 digs. In other first-round action, Libby beat Laurel in four games, Whitefish took care of Miles City and Lewistown beat Anaconda. The Class A state tournament continues all day today at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman. The Ponies and Eagles are slated to meet this afternoon in the winners bracket.