By Tiffany L. Rehbein
This could be the most important weekend of the season for the Havre Blue Pony volleyball team.
The Ponies will face Browning and Lewistown in conference action Saturday at the Havre High School gymnasium.
"It's a really big day for us," Havre head coach Bill Huebsch said. "We have a chance to go in as the No. 1 seed."
The No. 2 Blue Ponies (5-2, 13-4) will face the No. 1 Golden Eagles (7-1, 14-4) and a win would push the Ponies into first place in the North Subdivision of the Central A.
"We need to play well against Lewistown," Huebsch said. "It would be nice to beat them in three (games) and send them a message that we are playing better volleyball than we were in January."
The Eagles handed the Ponies a 14-16, 15-8, 15-8, 15-5 loss at Lewistown on Jan. 15.
However, Havre has made some changes since the last matchup with Lewistown and it has seen success.
The Ponies are taking a five-match winning streak into Saturday's match. Since changing their rotation, the Blue Ponies have gone 6-7, losing only to Class AA leader CMR.
Lewistown and Havre are Nos. 1 and 2 in the Central A in team serving percentage. The Eagles average 90.65 coming into the match, while the Ponies average 90.34.
Senior Erin Patera is a power for Havre. Patera is fourth in the league in kills, averaging 2.91 per game.
Lewistown's Janalee Stokken and Lindsay Garcia are second and third in the division in kills.
Patera is second in aces, 10th in blocks, and fourth in digs in the division.
Senior Tiffany Shrauger is fourth in the league in aces with 49 and 10th in digs.
Seniors Lisa Wagner and Kirsten Kuka are in the top 10 in assists, while Wagner is No. 1 with a 98.1 percent individual serving percentage.
Keely Jeide and Kari Bjelland can serve well for Lewistown.
Defensively for Havre, Terra Olson has stepped into a role in the back row, while Teri Sherrill has been playing well of late.
Amy Ranes, a sophomore, is strong on the block and the kills for the Blue Ponies in the front row.
The Havre junior varsity will kick off action at 10 a.m. against the Browning Indians. The Indians do not boast a freshman team.
Following, the Havre varsity will play the Browning varsity.
The Havre/Lewistown JV will play simultaneously with the freshman, and the varsity match will immediately follow.
"Browning is not like the old Browning," Huebsch said. "They have gotten better and it is a win we should get."