After defeating Conrad in five tough set at home last week, the Havre High volleyball team knew that the Class B Cowgirls would be even tougher this weekend in Conrad.
And the Central A Ponies saw firsthand just how tough the Cowgirls were on Saturday.
Playing one match in Conrad, the Cowgirls defeated the visiting Ponies in four sets. Conrad earned the nonconference win by scores of 25-20, 25-19, 22-25 and 25-18. The loss won’t hurt the Ponies in the Central A race, but it does drop HHS to 5-7 overall. The Ponies remain 2-1 in the conference.
“I knew it was going to be a tough match, but I think the girls knew that too, and I believe that took them out of the game mentally,” HHS head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “We didn’t come ready to play until the third game, and it makes me realize as a coach, that overall we really need to dig deeper and improve our mental toughness. It is such a big part of the game and we are only going to be competitive if we can learn to play mentally tougher on a consistent level.”
In the third game, the Ponies looked more like a team ready to play. They corrected the early areas of concern, and proved they could stick with the talented Cowgirls. But not being ready out of the gate, the Cowgirls found the Ponies’ weaknesses and took full advantage.
Serve-receive was one of those areas, as the Cowgirls posted 11 aces on the Ponies, including five by Haley Orcutt.
“They served us short and it took us a long time to adjust to that,” Skoyen said. “But once we were able to make that adjustment, it was fine. But it was too little too late, and we just had no fire in games one or two. We did some good things, but just couldn’t build any momentum.”
Conrad took full advantage of the Ponies’ slow start and rolled to the four game victory.
Blue Pony Jacinta Finneman, right, goes for a kill during Saturday's match in Conrad.
On the afternoon the Ponies totaled 48 digs, 29 kills, 21 assists, six blocks and four aces. Lacey Waid and Martha stocker continued to have good success in the Ponies’ attack, totaling eight kills apiece. But Stocker also led the Ponies with five blocks and two aces, while Waid also led the Ponies with 14 digs. It was a standout performance by both seniors, while sophomore Dani Wagner also led the team with 12 assists.
By the numbers, it was a decent outing for the Ponies overall, but the team has to continue to step up as a whole moving forward. Havre has just one more nonconference match and three more conference matchups before heading into the Central A divisional tournament early November in Lewistown.
On Thursday the Ponies will close non-conference play by facing the Class B Choteau Bulldogs in Choteau.
Conrad def. Havre
25-20, 25-19, 22-25, 25-18
Havre — Kills: 29 (Lacey Waid 8, Martha Stocker 8). Blocks: 6 (Martha Stocker 5). Aces: 4 (Martha Stocker 2). Digs: 48 (Lacey Waid 14). Assists: 21 (Dani Wagner 12).