Nothing went as planned for the Havre High volleyball team this weekend.
On Saturday the Central A Blue Ponies played host to two conference rivals at the Havre High gymnasium. And with the Ponies’ No. 2 seeding on the line, they were defeated by both the Belgrade Panthers and Livingston Rangers.
The Panthers defeated the Ponies in four games. The Panthers took game one 25-23, but the Ponies answered with a 25-15 win in game two. But retaking all momentum, the Panthers took games three and four by scores of 25-22 and 25-15.
Against the Rangers, the Ponies' afternoon took another turn for the worse. The Ponies captured game one 25-20, but the Rangers bounced back to take three straight games by scores of 25-15, 25-10 and 25-13.
“I knew it was going to be a tough weekend for us,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “But I think we thought that we played so well against Lewistown (Thursday) that we thought we would have it under control. But that’s the crazy thing about volleyball, how fast you can have ups and downs. One night you can play amazing, and the next you can have the worst game.”
Looking at the stats, the Ponies looked to have had a solid match against the Panthers. But having several errors throughout the match, as well as giving up numerous point runs, it was the Panthers earning the win.
The Ponies totaled 41 kills to the Panther's 34, as well as totaling 14 aces to the Panther's five. HHS also totaled six blocks to the Panther's five, while both teams racked up 32 assists.
Leading the Ponies, Paighton Gilman had 19 kills, six aces and two blocks. Sammy Evans also had a good performance with 10 kills, 14 digs and four aces. Sarah Armstong had two blocks, and Christina Mack had 15 digs to lead the Ponies.
The Panthers were the No. 5 team in the conference, but have been playing very well as of late. And while the Ponies haven’t seen them since very early in the season, it appears the Panthers are much improved.
“This was a huge conference win for us,” Belgrade head coach Marcia Boersema said. “We haven’t seen Havre since the beginning of the season and we knew they were going to be a challenge. As a team we have been working really hard and hopefully we are peaking at the right time to make it all the way through divisionals.”
Heading into the weekend the Ponies were clinging on to the No. 2 spot in the Central A. But with the two loses on Saturday and the loss to Lewistown on Thursday, the Ponies could drop as far as No. 4.
But after losing to the Rangers on Saturday, the Ponies are for sure out of second place.
“This win put us solidly in second place,” Livingston head coach Joey Lane said. “It was good for us, we’ve been on sort of an upswing lately. My kids responded really well today and that was very encouraging as we go into divisionals.”
The Ponies on the other hand have been playing very well as of late. They went through a tough stretch early on, but turned things around and entered Saturday winning five out of their last seven matches.
And though the Ponies showed signs of life off and on against the Rangers, it just wasn’t a good weekend overall for the Ponies.
“It was a tough day for us and a lot of things didn’t go our way,” Skoyen said. “It was a very weird day of volleyball for us and I know that we have the attitudes that can turn it around. As young as we are, I still feel that if everybody is on we can beat anybody in our conference. But everybody has to be on, and though I know that is a lot to ask, I hope we can do it in divisionals.”
After winning game one, the Ponies kind of disappeared. While the Rangers were hitting the ball very well, the Ponies struggled with hitting errors. The Rangers were finding the holes in the Ponies defense while the Ponies hit several balls into the net.
The Rangers had 36 kills, while the Ponies recorded 25. And the Rangers also had 19 aces, while the Ponies had nine, a big key in the Ponies' loss.
Gilman led the Ponies in kills once again, earning 10. Lexi Olson stepped up and had nine assists, while Sammy Evans had nine. Christina Mack, Sammy Evans and Jaclyn Evans all had two aces each, while Mack also had 10 of the teams 47 digs. Armstrong also had a block for the Ponies.
With the two losses, the Ponies dropped to 5-5 in the conference. And on Friday and Saturday, the Ponies will get back to action at the divisional tournament in Livingston.
Belgrade def. Havre
25-23, 15-25, 25-22, 25-15
Havre leaders — Kills 41 (Paighton Gilman 19, Sammy Evans 10); Assists 32 (Jaclyn Evans 32); Aces 14 (Paighton Gilman 6, Sammy Evans 4); digs 67 (Christina Mack 15, Sammy Evans 14); blocks 6 (Paighton Gilman 2.5, Sarah Armstrong 2).
Belgrade leaders — Kills 34 (Milissa Bill 9); assists 29 (Lindsey Halgren 14, Jordin Porter 14); aces 5 (Katie Kuison 2); digs 69 (Dylan Forulur 17, Marcea Kitle 17); blocks 5 (Lindsey Halgren 2).
Livingston def. Havre
22-25, 25-15, 25-10, 25-13
Havre leaders — Kills 25 (Paighton Gilman 10 Sammy Evans 6); Assists 20 (Lexi Olson 9, Sammy Evans 9); Aces 9 (Christina Mack 2, Sammy Evans 2, Jaclyn Evans 2); Digs 47 (Christina Mack 10); Blocks 3 (Sarah Armstrong 1.5).
Livingston leaders — Kills 36 (Johanna Chapel 8); assists 32 (Jordyn Yarborough 20); aces 19 (Jordyn Yarborough 6); digs 40 (Johanna Chapel 12); blocks 4.