In a weekend where the Havre High volleyball team could have made some noise in the Central A race, the Blue Ponies continued to struggle late in the season on the road.
Havre faced two conference opponents in Browning on Saturday.
But trying to get find some sort of consistent level of play before the post season tournaments, the Ponies dropped two more matches. The Belgrade Panthers defeated the Ponies in three games by scores of 25-23, 25-26, and 25-23, and the Livingston Rangers defeated the Ponies in three games by scores of 25-12, 25-12, and 25-23.
Both the Panthers and Rangers completed regular season sweeps over the Ponies. And with the two losses, HHS dropped to 2-5 in conference play with just one final conference match on the schedule. The Ponies will wrap up the regular season on Friday when they face the Golden Eagles in Lewistown.
And while it goes down as two losses, the Ponies did do some positive things against the Panthers.
“Against Livingston,” Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. “It was just failure to get fired up or excited. We could never get the momentum and Livingston was playing really well, while we had too many errors and I think that was the main thing.
“But I loved the lineup we used against Belgrade,” Skoyen added. “We were actually making Belgrade look bad at times. Even though we were only scored a high of 16 points, when you look at other team scores, that is pretty good. I was happy with how we played, we hustled, and our serve receive was great. Even though it was a loss, we take this as a success just because we did play well against a very good team.”
Facing the Panthers, the best the Ponies played was in a 25-16 loss. In the two other sets, the Ponies totaled just 26 points. But Skoyen did like that the Ponies at least gave the Panthers a challenge, as the Panthers have steamrolled a lot of teams this year. Some Havre leaders included Aubrea Worm with six kills, Ellery Bresler with 12 assists, and Martha Stocker with one block. But Worm also led the Ponies with three of the four aces and six of the 21 digs, as Worm continues to help lead HHS this season. But Tatiana Ralph also had a solid outing in a new lineup. Skoyen moved Ralph to an outside hitter position, and Ralph did spark the Ponies with three kills.
And facing the Rangers, the Ponies really had high hopes for a win, knowing they were beatable, but that match was also tough conference pairing. The Ponies defeated the Rangers early in the season at the Windy Season Classic in pool play, but couldn’t duplicate the results.
Production was a shortage again by the HHS attack, as their best set came in a 25-23 loss in the third. Havre posted just 12 points in the each of the first and second sets. But the Ponies still took some positive steps, as Skoyen was pleased with the serve receive and the passing. But according to Skoyen, unfortunitely the hitters struggled to adjust to the setters.
“The last couple years we lost to them both times during the season,” Skoyen said. “But then we beat them at the divisional tournament. We are very evenly matched with them when we play well, so we should match up with them if we see them again.”
Stocker earned another block, but this time Lacey Waid led the Ponies with five of the teams’ 14 kills. Dani Wagner also had five assists, while Breck Don continued to serve well this season, grabbing two more aces. Tatiana Ralph also had 12 of Havre’s 44 digs.
The two losses dropped the Ponies to 2-5 in Central A play, but also dropped the Ponies to 5-10 overall. And with one final opportunity to get on track before the postseason, the Blue Ponies will face Lewistown on the road on Friday. It will be the final conference and regular season match for the Ponies.
Belgrade def. Havre
25-13, 25-16, 25-13
Havre leaders – Kills 19 (Aubrea Worm 6, Tatiana Ralph 3); assists 21 (Ellery Bresler 12); aces 4 (Aubrea Worm 3); digs 21 (Aubrea Worm 6); blocks 1.5 (Martha Stocker 1.5).
Belgrade leaders – Kills 37 (Taylor Wolman 12); assists 34 (Olivia Kleinsasser 32); aces 14 (Taylor Woolman 3, Jamie Woolman 3, Paige Schladetsch 3); digs 44 (Dyra Fisher 8, Paige Schladetsch 8); blocks 6 (Taylor Soolman 3, Tanna Holliday 3).
Livingston def. Havre
25-12, 25-12, 25-23
Livingston leaders – N/A
Havre leaders – Kills 14 (Lacey Waid 5); assists 11 (Dani Wagner 5); aces 3 (Breck Don 2); digs 44 (Tatiana Ralph 12); blocks 5 (Martha Stocker 1.5).