Ups and downs have been the name of the game all season long for the Havre High volleyball team. And facing a stiff field of competition again this weekend, it was more of the same for the Blue Ponies.
The Central A Blue Ponies were in action on Friday and Saturday, as their record was dropped to 1-7 overall and 1-2 in the division.
Friday the Ponies took on the conference rival Lewistown Golden Eagles in Lewistown. But showing why they are an early Central A favorite, the Eagles defeated the Ponies in three games by scores of 25-20, 25-15 and 25-18. HHS returned to the court on Saturday, this time in their home debut. At the Havre High gymnasium, the nonconference Choteau Bulldogs defeated the Ponies in four games, by scores of 25-15, 23-25, 25-18 and 26-24.
“I am not even frustrated that we are losing,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “Because I know that we have what it takes, and I know that we just need to fine tune some things. It’s just the funky, little errors that hurt us, and I told the girls that we are too old for that. I am still positive, and I know that volleyball is
mental and it could go either way. The girls attitudes are where they need to be and they are putting the effort forth and that is why I am not frustrated.”
The Ponies were excited to play in front of home fans for the first time this season, but a very tough Bulldog's team made it a rough debut as HHS lost in four games to the very skilled and experienced Class B squad that houses five seniors and six juniors on the varsity squad.
In game one, the Ponies did not look like themselves. The Bulldogs came out and took an early 14-7 lead and never let up. And in the remainder of the match, the Bulldogs outscored the Ponies 11-7 for the quick win. According to Skoyen, this may have been the slowest start for the Ponies this season, who just couldn’t find a groove. In the game the Ponies gave up points on hitting errors, with six, and serve receive, giving up three aces.
“I don’t know what it was that caused
us to start that way,” Skoyen said. “But we can’t ever have games where we start like that.”
But the Blue Ponies rebounded nicely, like they have so many times this season, with a win in game two. HHS came out and eliminated the majority of the errors that hurt the Ponies before, as well as came out and hit the ball with much better consistency and accuracy.
In game two, the Ponies grabbed three aces of their own, while also racking up 11 kills. Both Sammy Evans and Lexi Olson had three kills each in the game.
But with the youthfulness of the Ponies, they weren’t able to rebound for the match win after an impressive game two win.
In game three the Ponies had another slow start. And three early serving errors helped the Bulldogs jump out to a 14-8 lead and ultimately, a win. HHS came out hot for game four, but this time let a lead slip away from them, as they took a 10-3 lead to start and later led 24-22 before losing the game 26-24.
“Consistency is exactly what it is going to take this year,” Skoyen said. “They need to realize how important momentum is and that we need to keep the momentum. We can’t let teams jump out to an early lead on us, and when we get the lead, we can’t let other teams back in.”
Sadie Seidel’s nine kills led the Ponies who racked up 40 total. And Filius grabbed 21 out of the team's 36 assists to lead the way, while also grabbing three aces. Boles also had three aces to help lead HHS. Brandy Lambourne was a major part of the Ponies defense with 60 digs, and Juletta Don and Olson both had two blocks.
On Friday the Ponies were hoping to get a conference win, but the Eagles proved to be a top runner in the Central A.
And though the Ponies suffered a loss in three games, the Ponies had another match filled with bright sports. Skoyen was especially pleased with here teams defense and serve receive against an Eagles team that has very tough servers as well as hitters.
And playing three close games against the Eagles shows a lot of promise for the Ponies. They didn’t give the Eagles any easy victories, and played extremely hard from start to finish.
In the match the Ponies did total 25 kills, with Evans and Sarah Armstrong earning five each. HHS also had 22 assists with Peyton Filius grabbing 10. Evans also led the Ponies with 16 of the 28 total digs, while Michaela Boles led the team with two out of the total six aces.
“This is the first time I have taken team into Lewistown and not seen the look of fear in our eyes,” Skoyen said. “They were ready to play and wanted to compete, and that was the best I have had a team play in Lewistown.”
Overall it was another good weekend for the Ponies. It is hard to see all the bright spots with two more losses, but the Ponies continue to improve with every match they play.
“Playing together more is all we really need,” Skoyen said. “We need to build some confidence. We have talent and we play great together as a team. And it’s not showing right now in the score book, but once we get some wins and build our confidence, we have to make sure that winning starts to become a habit for us.”
The Ponies will get another chance to take the court on Thursday, as they travel to Great Falls to face the GFH Bison. The Ponies are home Saturday to host Class B Conrad.
Lewistown def. Havre
25-20, 25-15, 25-18
Lewistown — Kills: 37 (McCalle Feller 13). Assists: 30 (Allie Adams 29). Digs: 41 (Jada Scheffelmaer 8). Blocks: 7 (Adams, Erin Jensen 2). Aces: 5 (Feller 2).
Havre — Kills: 25 (Sammy Evans 5, Sarah Armstrong 5). Assists: 22 (Peyton Filius 10). Digs: 28 (Evans 16). Blocks: 3. Aces: 6 (Michaela Boles 2).
Choteau def. Havre
25-15, 23-25, 25-18, 26-24
Havre — Kills 40 (Sadie Seidel 9). Assists 36 (Peyton Filius 21). Aces 10 (Peyton Filius 3, Michaela Boles 3). Digs 102 (Brandy Lambourne 60). Blocks 5 (Juletta Don 2, Lexi Olson 2).