After a long and tough road to start the season, the Havre High volleyball team not only has a more relaxed couple days ahead of them, but the Blue Ponies also get to make their home debut as well.
The Central A Blue Ponies will face two separate teams this week, and with a sigh of relief, those two opponents come two days a part.
Tonight the Ponies (0-2,3-4) are in Lewistown, taking on the conference rival Golden Eagles. And on Saturday, the Ponies will return home, where they will host the Choteau Bulldogs for their first home match of the season. The Eagles will also be the very first conference match of the season for the Ponies.
“It is going to be nice this weekend to just play one game each night,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “Every single time we have stepped on the court it has been a tournament situation, or we have had two matches on one night. It will be nice to focus on just one opponent and put all our efforts and energy into that one match.”
Today in Lewistown, the Ponies know they will have a battle on their hands.
The Eagles are extremely young this season, but somehow always return a very rounded program. Last year the Eagles graduated 10 seniors from the roster, leaving no returning starters this year. But always being well coached and very well disciplined, the Ponies have prepared for a very tough match on the road.
“Like any team, they are definitely beatable,” Skoyen said. “But the fact that we are playing them at home is a challenge. They have a very rowdy crowd and they win a lot of their home matches, but I know if we bring our A-Game, then we will beat them. We just need to play like we have been playing.
“It would be nice to get our first conference win from Lewistown on their home floor,” Skoyen added. “That would make us very happy.”
Playing at a high level is a given for the Ponies, but they are also keying on not giving up any major runs to the Eagles. A young team can do a lot of damage if given the momentum, so no three point runs is as the top of the Ponies goal list for this evening. But the Lewistown defense also has some holes that Skoyen an the Ponies have taken note of, giving the Ponies’ Sarah Armstrong, Lexi Olson and Sadie Seidel a lot of go ahead to swing away.
After a tough outing today, the Ponies return home on Saturday for a long awaited debut.
HHS hasn’t been home since the very beginning of the season, August 18, when they were on display at the Blue/White scrimmage. But the Ponies have played a lot of matches on the road since then, and can’t wait to take the floor at the Havre High gymnasium.
“I know that people always say they play better when you sleep in your own bed,” Skoyen said. “And I believe that. The girls are excited to show what they have, and to show how hard they have been working.”
The Bulldogs will be another solid test for the Ponies. They are somewhat of a mystery to the Ponies, but they did have a lot of size up front last year, and Skoyen expects that to be the same this weekend. With that said. The Bulldogs should be very solid up front with their hitting, and blocking, forcing the Ponies to hit very well themselves, and to hit very smart and accurately.
Saturday should be another big day for Olson, Seidel and Armstrong.
Overall, the Ponies know they have to play well both days. And getting off to a good start is probably the most important key. The Ponies need to get out to a solid lead, and not look back. They can’t hurt themselves with errors, and they can’t give ground back to teams. Between the Eagles and Bulldogs, the Ponies are going to face a lot of talented athletes, size, and some big hitters.
“We really need to have a strong start,” Skoyen said. “We can’t mess around in the beginning of our games, we have to go out there from point one, focused and ready to win. We can’t play catch up half way through the game. If we can’t check that goal off, then that is going to be something that we have to keep working on during the season.”
HHS will face the Eagles tonight in Lewistown, and will host the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon at the HHS gymnasium.