With another weekend in the books, the Havre High volleyball team took another positive step in securing its No. 2 spot in the division.
Saturday at the Havre High gymnasium, the Central A Blue Ponies defeated the conference rival Browning Indians in three games, outscoring the Indians 25-18, 25-20 and 25-16. And with the win, the Ponies remain in second place, improving to 4-2 in the conference and 7-6 overall.
“Conference wins are so important,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “We are in second place right now, but it would only take a couple losses to lose that. We want to maintain that second-place seeding.”
The Indians remain winless in conference and sit in the No. 6 spot. But with their scrappy defense and very good serving, the Indians proved to be a very competitive team.
Games one and two were very close almost all the way though. Both teams battled back and forth with long volleys, but fortunately for the Ponies, they were able to step up in the end and gain some separation.
At the end of game one the Ponies went on a 7-2 scoring run to secure the win. And in game two, the Ponies jumped out to a 13-5 lead before the Indians chipped away to trail just 21-18. But again the Ponies stepped up and outscored the Indians 4-2 in the remaining points to ensure a win.
“(Browning’s style) was different than what we are used to,” Skoyen said. “But I liked it. Especially some of those rallies, they just make us better and quicker and keep us in good shape. And I think we just did a good job of saying ok lets pull it together, lets pull ahead and lets finish. We needed this win tonight I know they knew it as a team.
“This was pretty big and exciting that we won,” Havre High’s Christina Mack added. “I think we have really come together this last week and now that we have everybody back (from injury) we are doing much better.”
Game three was also close throughout, after being tied 9-9, the Ponies slowly pulled away, going up 20-11 before taking the 25-16 win.
Serve-receive is a big reason the Ponies won the match. The Indians have one of the best serving percentages in the division, and served the Ponies very tough on Saturday. But the Ponies stepped up to the challenge and displayed their best serve-receive of the season.
“Our serve-receive was probably the best I have seen,” Skoyen said. “And Browning is a good serving team.”
The Ponies also got a big boost by the return of outside hitter Sammy Evans and setter Jaclyn Evans. Both girls missed last weekend’s game against Conrad due to personal reasons, but returned to the court in dominating fashion.
On the night, Sammy Evans led the Ponies with 13 of the team's 37 kills. And Jaclyn Evans had all 31 of the Ponies' assists.
“It looked like Sammy (Evans) and Jaclyn (Evans) were missing volleyball when they came back to practice,” Skoyen said. “They were playing with so much intensity and really focused. Everyday they came in this week they meant business, and it showed tonight (Saturday) when they played.”
Sadie Seidel also led the Ponies with six of the 14 total aces, while Mack led with 11 digs. HHS had 37 total digs, but recorded no stuff blocks.
The Ponies will turn right back around and face the Indians again on Saturday, this time on the road in Browning. But the Ponies are also now more confident heading in to Browning, knowing what they are up against and knowing they can be successful.
“I know they are going to want to get us at home,” Skoyen said. “But we still just have to worry about our side of the court and play our game.”
Havre def. Browning
25-18, 25-20, 25-16
Browning leaders — Kills 17 (Shanelle Skunkcap 5); Assists 12 (Shanelle Skunkcap 6); Aces 4 (Shanelle Skunkcap 1); Digs 54 (Sarah Horn 21); Blocks 4 (KaileyHall 3).
Havre leaders — Kills 37 (Sammy Evans 13); Assists 31 (Jaclyn Evans 31); Aces 14 (Sadie Seidel 6); Digs 37 (Christina Mack 11), blocks 0.