The fairly young and inexperienced Havre High volleyball team had its ups and downs this season, but even after finding some postseason success, the Blue Pony season has come to an end.
Friday and Saturday the Central A Ponies were in Livingston for the Central A divisional volleyball tournament where HHS saw three conference opponents. Over the weekend the Ponies defeated the Browning Indians 25-21, 28-26 and 25-18. But in their next two matches, the Ponies lost to the Livingston Rangers in three games and lost to the Belgrade Panthers in five.
“I feel like this is a season that can’t be measured by wins and losses when I think about how excited the girls are about volleyball and how they really came together as a team at the end,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “We got enough wins that we do have confidence and know we have the ability to beat good teams, but at the same time we had enough losses to show us we need to get serious this off season. Everybody else is losing a good amount of players that if we put in the time we can get to where we need to be.”
HHS did get a season sweep of the Indians with the three-game win at divisionals.
The Ponies had beat the Indians two times before Friday's meeting, and played well against them again. Paighton Gilman had a team-high 13 kills and three blocks. And Jaclyn Evans led the Ponies with 32 digs and three aces, while Christina Mack had 10 digs.
“We played well against Browning,” Skoyen said. “We did what we needed to do to win.”
Against the Rangers on Friday afternoon, the Ponies just looked sluggish. They came out flat against a talented team and suffered a loss because of it.
“Livingston is a good team,” Skoyen said. “And we looked like a deer in the headlights. We weren’t deserving of a win because we weren’t playing like we should.”
As a team the Ponies’ numbers were somewhat lower than usual. As a team they recorded 15 kills, seven blocks, 15 assists, 29 digs and three aces. Gilman led in two categories, earning five kills and three blocks.
After a less than satisfying match against the Rangers, the Ponies tried to bounce back against the Panthers in the loser-out bracket on Friday night.
HHS played very well, but a few mistakes and a big momentum shift cost the Ponies the match and brought their season to an end.
“I feel like we at least went out with some pride,” Skoyen said. “We played well and I thought we were really doing some good things. What’s frustrating was that we had the lead in game four and made a couple mistakes that let Belgrade back in it. We had game four.”
After the Panthers were able to come back and capture game four, they held all the momentum going forward. And coming out in game five, they just had the competitive edge over the Ponies.
But the Ponies' numbers improved. Mack had 27 of the team's digs and led with two aces, while Gilman led with 17 kills and three of the team's eight blocks. Jaclyn Evans also had 33 of the teams 35 assists.
The divisional tournament may not have gone as the Ponies planned, but with a lot of young talent, HHS has a lot of optimism going forward.
Lewistown captured yet another Central A championship by defeating Livingston in a five-game thriller in Saturday night's championship match. Both the Eagles and Rangers move on to this week's Class A state tournament in Bozeman.
Havre def. Browning
25-21, 28-26, 25-18
Havre leaders — Kills 39 (Paighton Gilman 13, Sammy Evans 9); Blocks 5 Paighton Gilman 3); Assists 33 (Jaclyn Evans 32); Digs 36 (Christina Mack 10, Sammy Evans 9); Aces 7 (Jaclyn Evans 3, Sammy Evans 2)
Browning leaders — Kills 29 (Kaily Hall 9, Marti Eaglefeathers 9); Blocks 5 (Kaily Hall 3); Assists 27 (Shanelle Skunkcap 17, Kaily Hall 13); Digs 54 (Sarah Horn 16, Marti Eaglefeathers 15); Aces 2 (SShanelle kunkcap 1, Marti Eaglefeathers 1)
Livingston def. Havre
25-10, 25-19, 25-16
Livingston leaders — Kills 30 (Johanna Chapel 10, Jordyn Yarborough 7); Blocks 8 (Johanna Chapel 5); Assists 27 (Alyssa Cornell 18, Jordyn Yarborough 9); Digs 29 (Emmy Handl 10, Johanna Yarborough 6); Aces 11 (Jordyn Yarborough 4)
Havre leaders — Kills 15 (Paighton Gilman 5, Sarah Armstrong 5); Blocks 7 (Paighton Gilman 3, Sarah Armstrong 2); Assists 15 (Jaclyn Evans 15); Digs 29 (Christina Mack 8, Lexi Olson 4, Sadie Siedel 4); Aces 3
Belgrade def. Havre (lo)
23-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-18, 15-9
Havre leaders — Kills 36 (Paighton Gilman 17, Sammy Evans 9); Digs 58 (Christina Mack 27, Sadie Siedel 13); Assists 35 (Jaclyn Evans 33); Blocks 8 (Paighton Gilman 3, Sammy Evans 2); Aces 5 (Christina Mack 2, Paighton Gilman 2).