The Havre High volleyball team hasn’t seen the win column since Sept. 2, when the Blue Ponies defeated the conference rival Belgrade Panthers in five games. But fortunately for the Blue Ponies, nearly a month later, another strong fifth game put an end to that streak.
Saturday at the Havre High gymnasium, the Central A Ponies battled for their second win of the season. Hosting the Class B Conrad Cowgirls, the Ponies improved to 2-8 overall with a win in five games.
HHS took game one 25-11, but lost game two by a score of 25-22. The Ponies bounced back in game three for a 25-21 win, but in game four, the Cowgirls came out on top 25-18. By the looks of the first four games, game five could have gone eit
her way, but taking control, the Ponies closed out Conrad with a 15-8 win.
“This is the best I have seen Conrad play,” Havre High head coach Malanie Skoyen said. “They were just out to get us. But it is our inconsistency that scares me, we haven’t been playing at a steady level and I know that we can. It was so nice to finally get another win, and it is good for us to build our confidence and know that we are capable of being a good team.”
After splitting the first four games of the match, the Ponies looked like the team they know they can be in game five.
It took some time, but the Ponies did take control of the deciding game after falling behind 3-0 to the Cowgirls. HHS battled back to tie the game at 3-3 with Peyton Filius at the serving helm, and eventually worked their way into an 8-6 lead. That was where the Ponies seemed to make their move. This time it was Davee McLeod serving for the Ponies, and she helped the Ponies to a 5-1 run. During the run, which would give the Ponies a commanding 13-7 lead, both Sammy Evans and Sarah Armstrong traded off booming hits for four straight kills. The hard-hitting Ponies gave themselves a cushion, and eventually finished off the Cowgirls 15-8 and earned the five game win.
“It feels amazing to finally get a win,” Evans said. “It has been a long time coming. But Conrad was a lot tougher than I expected them to be. We broke our losing habits, and (moving forward) we just need to practice harder and more intense and we will get better.
“We talked about it in the huddle,” Skoyen added. “We said that this match shouldn’t have gone to five games. And how we played in that game definitely demonstrates that we are a team that should be winning. It would be nice to see that control in the first three games.”
The first three games were no bright spot for the Ponies.
Skoyen said they showed a lot of impatience and played very rushed, causing the bulk of their mistakes. They committed unnecessary hitting and serving errors and allowed a dangerous Conrad team to stick around and gain momentum. And when the Cowgirls gained momentum and would go a scoring run, is exactly when the Ponies would panic, and show their youthfulness.
“We are so rushed.” Skoyen said. “When we take our time everything flows smoothly, and we have to play like that and good things will come. But that is what has caused a lot of errors all season, it is just our rookie experience, and we have to stay patient and not play rushed. I want them to know they are worthy of winning, and I think they feel like they don’t deserve to win. We are getting comfortable with how we are playing, and we are playing ok, but we have the potential to play great and I want our girls to see that.”
In the match the Ponies grabbed 41 kills, 35 assists, six blocks, 10 aces and 56 digs. Evans had 11 kills and Seidel had 10 to lead the Ponies, while Filius had 22 of the team's assists. Armstrong and Evans both had two blocks each, and McLeod and Filius both had four of the team's 10 aces. Brandy Lambourne led the team with 24 digs, while Evans added eight of her own.
The Ponies (2-8, 1-3) will play again on Saturday when they travel to Choteau for a non conference match.
Havre def. Conrad
25-11, 22-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-8
Havre – Kills 41 (Sammy Evans 11, Sadie Seidel 10). Assists 35 (Peyton Filius 22). Blocks 6 (Sarah Armstrong 2, Sammy Evans 2). Aces 10 (Davee McLeod 4, Peyton Filius 4). Digs 56 (Brandy Lambourne 24, Sammy Evans 8).
Conrad – Kills 42 (Taylor Judisch 17). Assists 36 (Brittany Greyn 28). Blocks 25 (Ciara Bender 7, Rashelle Johns 7). Aces 12 (Kristine Warlick 5). Digs 95 (Brittany Greyn 21).