By George Ferguson
Friday afternoon marked the end of the Havre High School volleyball team's season, as the Ponies came up short in their quest to reach the state tournament this week in Havre.
The Ponies were stunned by the Belgrade Panthers in five games in loser-out play at the Central A divisional tournament in Browning on Friday afternoon.
Havre took the first game of the match by a score of 25-17. The Panthers then rebounded to win the next two games 25-23 and 25-16. Havre managed to extend the match to a fifth game by prevailing in the fourth 25-20 before falling in the final game 9-15.
Despite the disappointing end to Havre's season, head coach Lacy Anderson was very proud of her team's efforts.
"Our girls played really hard and I thought they played really well in that match," Anderson said. "I feel really bad for all of them, but I'm not disappointed because they gave everything they had. They played their hearts out. That is all I can ask."
In the match against Belgrade, Anderson felt many factors may have contributed to the surprising defeat.
"We were really focused on the match that would get us to state, but I don't think the girls really overlooked Belgrade either," Anderson said. "Belgrade played us really well and we played really well. On paper it would appear that we should win that match, but it just didn't work out like that."
Standout senior Jeanna McPherson suffered an ankle injury during the early stages of the match. Although she played the entire contest, the injury hampered her play at the net.
"You could tell she was hurt, but she never asked to come out," Anderson said. "She still played great and she showed a lot of heart in that match."
The Ponies got a lift at the net from Kristi Owens with 16 assists, and Anderson was really pleased with how she stepped up.
"Kristi Owens had a tremendous match," Anderson said. "When Jeanna got hurt, the girls new it and they all stepped up and played really well."
Despite her injury, McPherson still managed a fine performance, racking up 13 kills, four blocks and 18 digs. Crystal Pyrak had 30 assists and two aces as well.
Anderson admitted it was tough that the season has come to an end.
"It was emotional for all of us," Anderson said. "This is such a special group of girls. They have responded to adversity all year, and it's very sad that the season is over, especially because I know how badly the girls wanted to play at home in the state tournament"
In the championship match Saturday night, Lewistown defeated Dillon. Livingston finished in the third place. Those three teams will represent the Central A Conference at this weekend's Class A state volleyball tournament in Havre. The tournament gets under way Thursday at the Havre High gymnasium.