By Kim Staudinger
Both the Havre and Chinook volleyball teams admitted to preparing not so much for Friday's game against each other, but more for the conference games they would play on Saturday. It showed.
The Beeters soon realized Havre was beatable and tried to take command.
Although the Ponies won the first two games 15-9, 15-8, Chinook never gave up and took the third game 15-9 before falling in game four 15-5.
"Chinook outplayed us and outhustled us in that third match," Havre head coach Lacy Anderson said. "They're scrappy. You hit it at them, you tip and they will find a way to get it up. I wish our girls had half the heart and half the desire (of Chinook). Chinook gave us a run for our money. I hope it opened their eyes."
The Ponies were down by two points twice in the first game before junior Sara Suek served up three straight points, giving the Ponies a 9-5 lead. Both teams battled sideout after sideout until Suek came back to serve again for the Ponies. Suek got two more points for Havre, increasing the lead to 12-6.
Jayla McPherson served the next two points for Havre before Chinook started to make a comeback. Jessica Hollingsworth got the Beeters back into game one with consecutive points, cutting the lead to 14-9. But strong play in the front row by senior Amy Ranes led to a Havre sideout, which allowed Julie Wagner to serve up the game winner seconds later.
Chinook came out hungry in the second game, taking a 7-1 lead backed by strong serving by Hollingsworth, Miranda Sather and Savannah Wendeln. The score reached 8-2 before Havre's comeback began.
Junior Taylor Donaldson mounted the Pony comeback, serving up six straight points, including one ace to tie the game. Chinook did not score in its next five attempts and McPherson served seven straight points to give the Ponies a 15-8 win in the second game.
The third game is where the Beeters made their move. Hollingsworth once again proved to be the strong server for Chinook in a game of back-and-forth scoring. Kelsie Whitney also added key serves for the Beeters when it counted in the 15-9 win.
Game four belonged to Laura Hedstrom and Donaldson, who combined for 11 of Havre's 15 points as the Ponies rolled to a 15-5 win.
The Ponies traveled to Lewistown for two conference games against Dillon and Anaconda. Havre defeated Anaconda 15-9, 15-6, 16-18, 15-1, but lost to Dillon 3-15, 15-13, 2-15, 17-15, 18-16 to fall to 3-1 in conference games.
The Ponies will face Lewistown, Park and Browning Saturday in Browning.