By Tiffany L. Rehbein
It will be the defending State Class A champions against the defending State Class AA champions at the C.M. Russell Fieldhouse on Saturday.
The Havre Blue Ponies volleyball team travels to Great Falls to take on both the Rustlers and the Great Falls High Bison in non-conference action.
The Blue Ponies (2-2, 8-3) met CMR at the Electric City Invitational and fell to the Rustlers 11-2, 11-2 in pool play.
The Rustlers are 10-0 this season after returning an entire squad from last year's State Class AA championship team.
Mary Lester, with the aide of setter Jodi Wright, and Lindsey Graham are all fine players for CMR.
"They (CMR) are playing really good volleyball right now," said Havre head coach Bill Huebsch. "They are a tough team and they didn't lose anybody."
However, the Ponies will resort to their "CMR defense," a rotation they used last year that broke down the Rustlers, to lead them.
"They will give us certain shots down the line that they just don't defend," Huebsch said. "We have got to use what they give us."
Erin Patera has been an offensive mainstay for the Ponies. She has tallied 111 kills this season, and is fifth in the Central A.
Sophomore Amy Ranes has been strong at the net, and Tiffany Shrauger is an added threat at the net for Havre.
Ranes and Shrauger notched eight kills apiece in last weekend's win over Livingston. Patera had a team-high 11 in the match.
Senior Lisa Wagner is solid behind the serving line. She has missed just three serves this season during the course of 50 games. She leads the Central A with a 98.4 serving percentage.
Patera leads the team in aces with 41, while Shrauger has chipped in 31 this season. Patera tallied five last weekend, while Shrauger added three.
Nikki Grant, Jeri Matter, Jayla McPherson, and Ranes are big in the front line.
Jana McPherson and Kirsten Kuka are fine servers for Havre, who is second in the league with an 89.69 serving percentage.
The Ponies will face the Bison later in the day. The Ponies won a 15-5, 15-9 matchup at the Electric City Invite earlier this month.
"They have got some strengths and we have got to limit what those players do against us," Huebsch said.
Mitsu Frazier and Jackie Gillespie are dangerous on the net for the Bison. Teresa Campbell and Megan Vielleux are also fine players for Great Falls.