By Tiffany L. Rehbein
For as far away that the Havre Blue Ponies volleyball team was from home on Thursday, equals about as far that the Ponies have to travel through the Central A divisional bracket to obtain a spot to the State Class A tournament next weekend.
The No. 1-seeded Blue Ponies (8-3) fell to the third-seeded Park High Rangers (7-4) 15-10, 13-15, 15-10, 15-3 during the second match of the day at the B.W. Lodge at Dillon. With the win, the Rangers earned an automatic berth to the state tournament because they can finish no less than third.
The Blue Ponies, on the other hand, are in unfamiliar territory, and must win three straight matches to gain a spot to the tournament, which will be held March 9-11 at Havre.
The Ponies played flat throughout the entire match, allowing Livingston a 3-0 lead to open the first game.
Game by game, the Rangers were allowed the opening points. In the final game, Livingston1s Rae Stevenson dropped four-straight aces on the Ponies. She did not stop serving until the Rangers held a 6-0 lead.
During the regular season, Havre defeated Livingston twice.
In the opening match, Havre defeated the Anaconda Copperheads 15 11, 16-14, 15-10 to advance to the evening game.
Havre will face the winner of the Browning (0-11) Butte Central (2-9) match, which will begin at 2 p.m. in the true double elimination tournament.
In other action, Lewistown (9-2) defeated Belgrade (9-2) 15-11, 15-5, 6-15, 4-15, 15-13 to advance into semifinal action against Livingston.
Belgrade will face the winner of the Anaconda (2-9) and Dillon (5-6) match.
Belgrade def. Browning 15-0, 15-12, 15-3
Fergus def. Butte Central 15-2, 16-14, 15-10
Havre def. Anaconda 15-11, 16-14, 15-10
Park def. Dillon 15-13, 9-15, 15-9, 15-6
Fergus def. Belgrade 15-11, 15-5, 6-15, 4-15, 15-13
Park def. Havre 15-10, 13-15, 15-10, 15-3