Over the last several weekends the Havre High volleyball team has played a lot of volleyball. And with a weekend with just two matches, the Blue Ponies were really looking to narrow their focus and game plan to grab a couple of wins on the road.
But unfortunately, the Central A Ponies went to Lewistown on Saturday and dropped both matches. Laurel defeated the Ponies in four games, with scores of 25-23, 28-26, 28-30 and 25-16. And Hardin defeated the Ponies three games, with scores of 25-22, 25-22 and 25-17.
The non conference losses dropped the Ponies overall record to 1-5, while HHS still remains at 1-1 in conference play.
“All of our games were close this weekend,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “And Laurel and Hardin proved to be tougher than we thought they were going be. I think that our team is getting so much better and we had moments of greatness for sure.”
Facing the Locomotives, the Ponies played well in the loss. And though they dropped the first two games, the Ponies played their best volleyball of the year Skoyen said. HHS hit the ball very well and handled the attack by the Locomotives. And with the 30-28 win, the Ponies showed what they are capable of when they play to their potential.
“That was the best I have seen the team play,” Skoyen said. “We played with an even keel, where usually it feels like we are up and down in our play. But in this game the girls really played how I wanted them to play, they were good about siding out, they hit the ball well and we didn’t let them get any three-point runs on us. It was just awesome to see them play like that and show themselves what they are capable of when they put their minds to it.”
Overall the Ponies played fundamental volleyball in game three. But unfortunately in the other games against Laurel, the Ponies just got outplayed by a team that showed more experience and poise.
And in the Ponies' second match aganst the Bulldogs, the Ponies mistakes also cost them points as well as games. And while the Ponies came out and played tough in game one, the loss may have caused the Ponies to come out flat in game two.
Skoyen didn’t see the aggressive Ponies that she has seen so often this season. And even though it was the Bulldogs that recorded the win in three games, she feels that the Ponies gave away most of the points Hardin earned.
“We gave Hardin a lot of free ball passes,” Skoyen said. “And our hits weren’t as aggressive as they should have been, so we allowed them to set up their offense and that is what really hurt us. But it was another good learning experience, and I feel like Hardin wasn’t earning their points, we were giving them up.”
Facing Laurel, the Ponies had 36 total kills, with Sammy Evans leading with nine. HHS also had one block by Sadie Seidel, and six aces, with Evans grabbing two. The Ponies also had 76 digs and 29 assists. Peyton Filius had 14 of the teams assists.
And against Hardin, the Ponies had 23 kills with Seidel earning eight. Davee McLeod led the Ponies with two of the teams three aces, and Brandy Lamburne had 27 of the teams 72 digs. Filius also had 13 of the teams 23 assists.
Lexi Olson didn’t highlight the Ponies stats, but she played exceptionally well this weekend. Olson never played the front row last season, but was placed there this year. And showing she is adapting just fine, Olson dominated the front row with her solid blocking and aggressive hitting Skoyen said. Filius also made strides as the Ponies setter, leading the Ponies in assists in both matches.
“We have raw talent and that is a good thing,” Skoyen said. “We have so much we can build from so it’s not like we have to change a lot of things. We are just new, fresh, and young and have a lot to build from. That is why we aren’t getting wins right now I think, I just feel that we have to keep our heads up and keep working hard in practice.”
The Ponies will travel to Lewistown to take on the conference Golden Eagles on Friday, and will return home on Saturday for their first home match of the year. HHS will host Choteau.
Laurel def. Havre
25-23, 28-26, 30-28, 25-16
Havre — Kills 36 (Sammy Evans 9), Blocks 1 (Sadie Seidel), Aces 6 (Sammy Evans 2), Digs 76, Assists 29 (Peyton Filius 14).
Hardin def. Havre
25-22, 25-22, 25-17
Havre — Kills 23 (Sadie Seidel 8), Blocks 1 (Juletta Don .5, Lexi Olson .5), Aces 3 (Davee McLeod 2), Digs 72 (no stats available), (Brandy Lambourne 27), Assists: 23 (Peyton Filius 13).