By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The Havre Blue Ponies have made some changes since the last time they met the Chinook Sugarbeeters on the volleyball court.
Since those changes, the Ponies have posted a record of 5-6 and they are on a four-match winning streak.
The lone Blue Pony loss came against Class AA leader C.M. Russell, who is undefeated in league play this season.
But Chinook should not be overlooked.
The Sugarbeeters have been steadily improving throughout the season, also.
Last weekend, Chinook took seventh-ranked Glasgow to five games and fell 16-14 in the hard-fought battle.
"Chinook is a fundamentally sound team," Havre head coach Bill Huebsch said. "They are getting better as the season goes on."
Havre (5-2, 12-4) defeated Chinook 15-6, 15-5, 15-4 when the two teams met earlier this season.
"We cannot give away points," Huebsch said. "We have been doing that at wrong times in matches."
Chinook (3-4, 7-5) will meet Plentywood at home tonight in District 2B action.
"Havre has a nice strong offense," Chinook head coach Paula Molyneaux said. "We have to be able to handle that. They are a pretty good all-around team and we will just try to match up with them at the net."
Erin Patera and Amy Ranes are dominant at the net for Havre. During the course of three conference games last weekend, the two combined for 70 kills.
Tiffany Shrauger and Jana McPherson can also attack the net from the outside for the Blue Ponies.
Katie Hoffman and Renda Birky are strong hitters for Chinook. The two comibined for more than half of the Sugarbeeters' kills last weekend against Glasgow.
Lisa Wagner and Kirsten Kuka share the setting responsibilities for Havre, while Kelsie Whitney, a sophomore, handles the offense for Chinook.
Wagner is a solid server for the Ponies, having missed just five serves this season. She serves 98.02 percent from behind the line.
Patera and Shrauger are strong from the serving position.
During the course of last weekend, Patera smoked 12 aces while Shrauger dropped in 11.
Jacy Sheppard, Sadie Fuglevand, and Amanda Schoen are also key to Chinook's offense.
Teri Sherrill is solid defensively, while Terra Olson and LaShae Michels have proven they can come off the bench for Havre.
The Ponies will be looking to work on free ball offense and blocking defense, Huebsch said.
"If we are giving up points, it's going to be because the other team is earning them," Huebsch said.
The freshman are slated to begin at 4 p.m. with the junior varsity and varsity to follow.