It was a weekend jam packed with volleyball that the Havre High Blue Ponies were hoping for, and that is exactly what they got.
Friday and Saturday the Ponies were in Great Falls where they participated in the always tough Electric City Classic. And while the Ponies only came away with one win and a split in nine matches, more volleyball was just what they needed as they continue to grow and meld together early in the season. Each match the Ponies played this weekend were two games to 20, and did not count for or against the Ponies 1-1 record.
On Friday the Ponies started on the right foot, defeating Bozeman 20-13 and 20-16. But to follow, Billings West defeated HHS 20-8 and 20-16, Kalispell Glacier defeated HHS 20-15 and 20-9, Missoula Hellgate defeated HHS 20-19 and 20-15, Butte defeated HHS 20-13 and 20-19, the Ponies split with CMR with a 20-10 loss and a 20-19 win, and Helena defeated HHS 20-7 and 20-14.
Havre finished pool play on Friday as the No. 8 team its pool, and then faced Great Falls on Saturday in tournament play. But suffering another loss, the Bison defeated the Ponies 25-22 and 25-14, and Butte defeated the Ponies 25-21, 23-25 and 25-17. The Bison moved onto to win the consolation bracket championship.
“This weekend was great practice for us,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “It was good to see that even when we were down, we were still playing as a team and having positive attitudes. I think that speaks a lot about a team. And (facing Class AA) teams, we saw a lot of things that we can work on moving forward. We just have to keep practicing hard and getting repetitions. We were equal with a lot of teams and better than a lot too, but just with our inexperience and young mistakes we made we just weren’t able to finish a lot of games.”
HHS played well through the seven matches on Friday. And despite not recording a win on Saturday, Skoyen still feels like they played their best volleyball then.
Their inexperience had a lot to do with the Ponies losses, like Skoyen said, but so did their serve receive. It has been an area of focus since last season, and still continues to be one. But already this season the Ponies have made strides. Facing Great Falls and Butte, the Ponies eventually figured some things out.
“We realized that serve-receive is almost mental,” Skoyen said. “We don’t have to just swing our arms, all you really have to do is angle your platform on a really tough serve and let your arms absorb it, and we are finally figuring that out. It was definitely a good learning experience for us.”
Against Great Falls, the Ponies had 16 kills, 12 assists, eight blocks, six aces and 44 digs all together. Sarah Armstrong led with seven kills and Juletta Don added three. And Peyton FIlius led with seven assists, while Sadie Seidel added four. Don also helped lead the way with three blocks, while Davee McLeod and Brandy Lambourne both had two aces each. Lambourne also led with 10 digs, while Sammy Evans pitched in eight of her own.
Facing Butte, it was Seidel leading with seven of the teams 29 kills, while Evans added five of her own. And Filius led with 13 assists with McLeod adding eight of the teams 25. The Ponies also had 11 blocks, with Armstrong earning four and Don earning three. McLeod had two of the three total aces, and Lambourne had 19 of the teams 66 digs. Evans also had 16 digs.
The Ponies will play Laurel and Hardin Saturday in Lewistown.
Havre def. Bozeman 20-13, 20-16
Billings West def. Havre 20-8, 20-16
Kalispell Glacier def. Havre 20-15, 20-9
Missoula Hellgate def. Havre 20-19, 20-15
Butte def. Havre 20-13, 20-19
Havre split with CMR 10-20, 20-19
Helena def. Havre 20-7, 20-14
Great Falls def. Havre 25-22, 25-14
Havre – Kills 16 (Sarah Armstrong 7, Juletta Don 3), Blocks 8 (Juletta Don 3, Lexi Olson 2.5), Assists 12 (Peyton Filius 7, Sadie Seidel 4), Digs 44 (Brandy Lambourne 10, Sammy Evans 8), Aces 6 (Davee McLeod 2, Brandy Lambourne 2)
Butte def. Havre 25-21, 23-25, 25-17
Havre – Kills 29 (Sadie Seidel 7, Sammy Evans 5), Blocks 11 (Sarah Armstrong 4, Juletta Don 3.5), Assists 25 (Peyton FIlius 13, Davee McLeod 8), Digs 66 (Brandy Lambourne 19, Sammy Evans 16), Aces 3 (Davee McLeod 2, Sadie Seidel 1)