By George Ferguson
It has been rough going lately for the Havre Blue Pony volleyball team. But the Ponies will step out of conference this week and look to get things pointed in the right direction. That positive step begins tonight against the Chinook Sugarbeeters in Chinook. The Ponies will also travel to Great Falls to take on the Class AA Great Falls High Bison on Saturday.
"We're in kind of a lull right now," said Havre head coach Lacy Anderson. "Our practices have been up and down the last couple of weeks and we have been playing so inconsistent in matches."
Havre is 4-3 in Central A conference play and just 7-8 overall coming into this weekend. The Ponies dropped a pair of important conference matches against Livingston and Lewistown in Lewistown last Saturday. In those matches, the Ponies showed glimpses of their potential, but a myriad of mistakes clouded the results.
"We really need to start putting things together and be a lot more consistent," Anderson said. "We do one thing right at a time, but now is the time when we need to start putting all of these things together."
Despite Anderson's desire to get things turned around against Chinook, the Ponies will have to do it shorthanded. Sara Suek, one of the Ponies best all-around players suffered a severe ankle sprain last weekend in Lewistown. Suek will be unable to play tonight according to Anderson.
"Not having Sara will be tough," Anderson said. "She is just so important to our team and she plays so well on the court."
The Beeters come into tonight's contest on the heels of a loss to Glasgow last Saturday, but will have some confidence based on their last meeting with the Ponies.
In that match in Havre, the Beeters took the Ponies to five games in a very tightly contested match. That match has Anderson concerned about tonight's battle.
"Chinook is a very tough, aggressive team," Anderson said. "The played very well against us in Havre and I think this match could go either way.
Anderson also respects the Beeters star all-around player Jess Hollingsworth.
"She (Hollingsworth) is a tremendous all-around player," Anderson said. "She can really hurt you in a number of ways."
On Saturday, the Ponies travel to take on Class AA Great Falls High at the Bison Fieldhouse. The Bison present another stern test for Anderson's troops.
"Great Falls High is a very good team but I think we can play with them," Anderson said. "If we can do the things that we're capable of and be consistent on the court we will be alright."
The Ponies must cut down on errors and finish points better, if they are to have any success this weekend. The Ponies committed a total of 97 errors in the last two matches they have played.
"We are going to have to rely on our hitters to finish points," Anderson said. "Our passing has been good, so it's going to be up to the hitters to finish things off better."
Anderson also likes the fact that her team is getting a break from conference play and is really excited about facing the Bison.
"Our intensity just isn't where it needs to be," Anderson said. "Hopefully facing a AA school will force the girls to really step it up."
The match between the Ponies and Beeters gets underway tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Chinook High School Gymnasium. The action gets underway on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. at the Bison Fieldhouse in Great Falls.