There is always some question about how a young team is going to come out of the gate and start a new season. But with week one in the books for the Havre High volleyball team, things really couldn’t have gone any better.
The Blue Ponies opened their season with a Central A matchup, playing the Browning Indians on the road. The Ponies swept the Indians a year ago, and are now halfway there again this season. Saturday in Browning, the Ponies defeated the Indians in three games, winning by scores of 25-22, 25-15, and 25-11. HHS now sits 1-0 in conference play and overall to start the season.
“The girls played so well,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “The entire match was just really fun and exciting for us, and it was everything a coach could ask for in our first time out this season. There is always a huge difference from the speed of the game going from practices and scrimmages into real games, but I think we handled that change very well. Browning came out very excited and fired up, but we were able to take the momentum away from them and took control through games two and three.”
Browning has struggled to put together a really competitive team over the years, but always finds a way to push conference opponents to the brink. And the Indians gave the Ponies a run for their money to start the match.
In Game 1, the Ponies narrowly escaped the Indians by just three points. The Ponies did come out and play with some early season jitters, but found a way to settle down. And the Indians are known for their ability to make teams make mistakes with their unorthodox style of play, but the Ponies overcame that as well.
“Browning played very well in that first game,” Skoyen said. “They came out with their typical Browning defense and really made us work for every point. They are a very scrappy team and we just had to play extra smart and hard to get them to make the mistakes and not us.”
And escaping after a neck and neck Game 1, the Ponies quickly settled in and ran away with wins in game two and three.
Dani Wagner played very well in her first starting role as the Ponies’ sophomore setter, as did Aubrea Worm, Ellery Bresler, Lacey Waid, and Martha Stocker at their respective positions. Wagner found herself doing a lot of hitting and digging as well, as the Browning offense really attacked her with their hitting. That also gave Breck Don the opportunity to step up and show her setting and passing skills as the Ponies showed they could adapt and change on the court if needed.
Worm led the Ponies with eight kills, while Waid and Wagner followed with six each. Wagner and Bresler also led with 11 assists each, while Wagner also led with 11 of the Ponies’ 42 digs. Waid recorded three aces, and Stocker also had four of the seven blocks. As a team the Ponies had 32 kills, 26 assists, and six aces.
But even with all of the posotives moving forward, the Ponies are still aware of areas where they can continue to improve. Serve-receive was a concern heading into the weekend, but coming out, the Ponies need to instead fix their own service errors.
“Our serving errors were terrible,” Skoyen said. “But everything else looked really good, I thought. We were able to get the kinks out in Game 1, and I can’t just pinpoint one girl’s efforts because everybody really stepped up and played well.”
Now 1-0 overall and in the Central A, the Ponies will play two more conference opponents Friday. Remaining on the road, the Ponies will face the Livingston Rangers and Belgrade Panthers in Livingston.
Havre will also be part of the Windy City Classic Saturday in Belgrade.
Havre def. Browning
25-22, 25-15, 25-11
Havre – Kills 32 (Aubrea Worm 8, Lacey Waid 6, Dani Wagner 6); Assists 26 (Dani Wagner 11, Ellery Bresler 11); Aces 6 (Lacey Waid 3); Digs 42 (Dani Wagner 11); Blocks 7 (Martha Stocker 4).
Browning – Kills 16 (Whitney Bremmer 6); Assists 15 (Shelsey St. Goddard 9); Aces 4 (Rachel Heptner 3); Digs 32 (Hilary Omessoo 10); Blocks 4 (Cydnie Sharp 2).