Before the Havre High volleyball teams’ three-match weekend began, the Blue Ponies were the No. 3 seed in the Central A. And with the three matches being conference matches, the Ponies’ season was on the line.
Anything can happen once at the divisional tournament, but the goal is to head into divisionals with the best possible seeding. Unfortunately for the Ponies, after winning just one of the three matches, they will enter the postseason as the No. 4 seed instead. HHS had a shot at claiming the No. 2 seed, or even maintaining their No. 3 seed this weekend as well.
On Friday, the Lewistown Golden Eagles defeated the Ponies in four sets. The Eagles won by scores of 17-25, 27-26, 25-14, and 25-22, completing the season sweep over the Ponies. And on Saturday, the Ponies began well, defeating the Livingston Rangers in five games, but later fell to the No. 1 Belgrade Panthers in three. The Ponies defeated the Rangers by scores of 13-25, 25-10, 26-24, 17-25, and 18-16. The Panthers defeated the Ponies by scores of 25-6, 25-16, and 25-16. Belgrade swept the Ponies this season, while the Ponies and Rangers split in their two meetings.
In the win over the Rangers on Saturday, it was good to see the Ponies rebound after a tough loss on Friday.
“It was good to see,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “And after adjusting to a new setter, I feel like we are there now. Our hitters are connecting very well with her and that is good heading into divisionals. But against Livingston, everybody just worked hard and worked together. They were all finishing, and they were really scrappy on defense. It was definitely a team effort.”
Ellery Bresler has taken over as the setter for the Ponies. Peyton Filius has missed the last several matches, and is trying to get back for the postseason, but Bresler has been phenomenal in her
in her absence. Against the Rangers, Bresler had 36 of the teams 40 assists, as she helped lead the way to a win.
But the Ponies had fight to win in five sets. After a pretty lopsided loss in the first set, the Ponies crushed the Rangers by 15 points in the second. HHS also turned an early 6-1 lead in the third set into a 26-24 win, having to retake the momentum from a no quit Rangers team. Sarah Armstrong had five kills in the set, including back-to-back kills for points 25 and 26. The Rangers did take set four, but the Ponies were able to use more Armstrong heroics to win set five. Armstrong ended the set with her 19th kill of the match.
The Ponies racked up 43 kills in the match led by Armstrong. Sadie Seidel also had nine kills. Martha Stocker led the team with three blocks, while Brandy Lambourne had 16 of the 38 digs. Davee McLeod had eight digs, Breck Don had three aces, and Lambourne also had two aces.
But the Blue Ponies have struggled to put together decent outings back-to-back this season. That trend continued as the Ponies struggled against a very good Panthers squad.
The Panthers block stole the show, as they racked nine on the night. The presence at the net really affected the Ponies, as they struggled to hit with much success. And when the Pony hitters did swing away, their was no block coverage to help recover. Belgrade took control of the match early, and maintained momentum for the majority of the night.
“Belgrade is a solid team,” Skoyen said. “And we know they are a very good blocking team. But we can also be a good blocking team, but unfortunately, we were just a little slow, and they run a very fast offense. We didn’t get our block up at all, and that’s just not the middles fault, our outsides need to step up and help that out.”
A long with the nine blocks, Belgrade also earned 41 kills against the Ponies. HHS had no blocks, and just 17 kills. Lexi Olson led with five kills, while Lacey Waid added four. Lambourne also had seven of the 23 digs, while the Ponies had just two aces.
On Friday, the Ponies had a strong first game, but struggled the rest of the way.
HHS came out and handled the Eagles 25-17, but couldn’t keep things rolling. The Eagles didn’t play their best volleyball to start, according to coach Skoyen, but quickly came alive. And a big reason for the Havre loss, coach Skoyen said the Ponies just struggled to finish when they had the opportunity.
“Lewistown had very good ball control,” Skoyen said. “And is just a solid team all around. They don’t have that one standout player, but they are team that knows how to win, and they have done so for years, so they have a lot of confidence.”
The Ponies finished up the regular season with the three conference matches at home over the weekend, and will now prepare of the Central A divisional tournament in Belgrade this weekend. HHS enters as the No. 4 seed, and will face the No. 5 Browning Indians in the first round. If the Ponies win, they will face Belgrade in the second round.
Lewistown def. Havre
17-25, 27-26, 25-14, 25-22
Lewistown – Kills 47 (Mikaela Olson 13, Taylor Jensen 10); Blocks – 7 (Michelle Monger 3, Paige Zibell 2); Assists – 42 (Maddie Comes 39); Digs – 70 (Alyssa Yaeger 25, Taylor Jensen 19); Aces – 8 (Taylor Jensen 4).
Havre – Kills 36 (Sarah Armstrong 13, Sadie Seidel 9); Blocks 3 (Sadie Seidel 1); Assists 32 (Ellery Bressler 30); Digs 56 (Brandy Lambourne 17, Lexi Olson 12); Aces 5 (Davee McLeod 2, Lexi Olson 2).
Havre def. Livingston
13-25, 25-10, 26-24, 17-25, 18-16
Livingston – Kills 32 (Katie Buckley 10, Meagan Hawkins 7); Blocks 5 (Courtney Njardvik 3); Assists 27 (Shayla Pryor 21); Digs 97 (Megan Hawkins 29, Hailey Peterson 14); Aces 13 (Tegan Lane 4, Shayla Pryor 3).
Havre – Kills 43 (Sarah Armstrong 19, Sadie Seidel 9); Blocks 3 (Martha Stocker 2, Sarah Armstrong 1); Assists 40 (Ellery Bresler 36); Digs 38 (Brandy Lambourne 16, Davee McLeod 8); Aces 8 (Breck Don 3, Brandy Lambroune 2).
Belgrade def. Havre
25-6, 25-16, and 25-16.
Belgrade – Kills 41 (Jorden Porter 10, Tayleer Woolman 7, Nikki Wass 7); Blocks 9 (Tanna Holliday 4.5, Taylor Woolman 2); Assists 37 (Jorden Porter 15, Ali Weisz 15); Aces 10 (Jorden Porter 3, Nikki Wass 3).
Havre – Kills 17 (Lexi Olson 5, Lacey Waid 4); Blocks 0; Assists 17 (Ellery Bresler 16); Digs 23 (Brandy Lambourne 7); Aces 2 (Lexi Olson 1, Davee McLeod 1).