With most of their summer practices now in the past, the Havre High volleyball team is just days away from its season opener.
The Central A Blue Ponies got a good look at their squad on Saturday with the program's annual Blue/White scrimmage at the Havre High gymnasium.
During the scrimmage, the Havre junior varsity defeated the freshmen squad 25-8 and 25-10 in two games. And the Pony varsity defeated the junior varsity 25-19, before playing one last game with a mix of both varsity and junior varsity players on both sides of the net.
And though there were some positives to Saturday’s scrimmages, second-year head coach Melanie Skoyen feels the Ponies may be behind the curve.
“I think we are starting a little bit behind,” Skoyen said. “The competition that they played against last year and just where they were last year at the junior varsity level, I know they aren’t quite ready, but we are getting there fast. I see good things coming from this season, and I know it will take a couple of games.”
Even though it was an intra-squad scrimmage, Skoyen noticed a lot of nervous girls taking the court.
The Ponies' varsity squad came out and got off to a slow start. There were some jitters, which led to some miscues, mishits and miscommunication. But though they started with some mistakes early, the Ponies did clean up their play as the match progressed and girls became more and more comfortable.
“When I see the girls are nervous and not playing relaxed, I can tell they aren’t having fun at the same time,” Skoyen said. “They made some funny errors and mistakes they wouldn’t normally make, but hopefully we got that out of the way now so when we play Butte Central we will be done with that.”
But miscues or not, their were some bright spots on Saturday.
When the Ponies were playing well together, they really were playing well. Senior Christiana Mack looked good defensively in the back row. She racked up a number of digs, and hit the floor hard, not giving up on any ball.
“She is just doing a better job reading the hitter,” Skoyen said. “And she did a good job of that today (Saturday). Her defense got quicker as the scrimmage progressed.”
Senior Paighton Gilman and junior Sammy Evans also looked good. Gilman has been working on her timing and hitting in practice and it showed on the floor, while Evans also hit the ball very well.
And with Karla Hellegaard absent from the Pony roster, Evans looks to be the one taking over as the Ponies' highflying hard hitter.
“It was good to see,” Skoyen said. “Sammy (Evans) is a very smart hitter and she can see the block very well. She is finding the holes in the block and was able to hit the ball where she wanted, not just go up and aimlessly hit the ball.”
In the varsity/junior varsity matchup, Jaclyn Evans had two aces, while Evans had three kills and a block.
With the scrimmage done and out of the way the Ponies will play in their official season opener this Saturday in Butte. The Ponies will take on the conference rival Butte Central Maroons.