By Kim Staudinger
The Havre Blue Ponies proved doubters wrong last weekend at the Central A Divisional Volleyball Tournament in Anaconda, winning the title in four straight.
The Ponies hope those winning ways continue this weekend at the state tournament in Columbia Falls. After many changes in travel plans, the Havre team arrived safely in Columbia Falls prepared to make its title run starting today at noon against Colstrip. If the Ponies (16-10, 7-3 conference) wins their first game, they will play again at 6 p.m.
Havre sits on the same side of the bracket as Columbia Falls and Sidney. Livingston, Whitefish, Hardin and Corvallis are on the other side.
Head coach Lacy Anderson said her team had a rough start to the week in practices and hopes the saying "You play how you practice" doesn't hold true for the Ponies this weekend.
"I just want them to do well for them," she said.
As for Colstrip, Anderson said the Fillies have a couple girls who could cause some problems for Havre. One of their top players, Anderson said, is a 6-foot-2 middle blocker who can hit from either the left or right side of the court. Colstrip also has a good setter and a very tough defensive player.
Colstrip finished third at its divisional tournament last weekend.
"They're obviously beatable," Anderson said.
Colstrip runs the same type of defensive set as the Ponies, Anderson said, which is something Havre should benefit from. But Anderson sees something else as being key to beating the Fillies.
"Colstrip's going to serve tough at us," she said. "If we don't serve-receive well, we will be served right off the court."
And just as the Ponies did last weekend, Anderson said her team may have to start slow in order to get going.
"They may have to get down a little to get them in gear," she said.
Three Havre seniors have played in the state volleyball tournament before Jayla McPherson, Jeri Matter and Amy Ranes and Anderson hopes senior leadership will guide the Ponies to the championship game.
"I have six seniors and I don't want them to regret their season," Anderson said. "I don't want them to look back and have any regrets. I believe in this group and their potential and I won't stop saying that.
"I think they're fairly confident but I think there's some nerves, too. For six seniors this is their last chance."
But as long as the Ponies play like they did last weekend at divisionals, be on the watch for Havre to bring some hardware home.
"They've peaked," Anderson said. "If they play the way they did this (last) weekend, we dominated."