A win or a loss this weekend won't budge the conference standings for or against the Havre High volleyball team, but the Blue Ponies would love nothing more than to end the regular season with some positive momentum against one of the top teams in the conference.
The Blue Ponies are in fourth place with a 2-5 record in the Central A and 5-11 record overall. But in the final regular season match, the Ponies will face the No. 2 team in the conference. The Lewistown Golden Eagles are 4-2 in league play and 14-6 overall, and will host the Ponies tonight in Lewistown.
Currently Belgrade (7-0, 12-5) is the No. 1 team, while Livingston (4-3, 8-6) sits in third place, and Browning (0-7, 2-14) sits in fifth place.
If Havre wants to push for a win over the Eagles, the Ponies can't come out slow. The Eagles are too talented to give a head start, and the Ponies know that from the first time around, as the Eagles recorded a 3-0 victory by scores of 25-11, 25-23, and 25-11.
HHS know it will be a tough task in earning a win in Lewistown, but with the divisional tournament bringing the Ponies back to Lewistown next week, they know they need to begin peaking.
With some ups and downs this year, playing well tonight would be huge. The Ponies' serve receive was a concern early this year, but that has been much improved. That should automatically make the contest tighter, as last time the Eagles had 11 aces, five from a talented server in Sydney Wier. But the Ponies defense and blockers up front will also need to play well. Martha Stocker has ben a standout player at the net for the Ponies this year, and will have her hands full with hitters like Paige Zibell and Mikaela Olson attacking the Ponies. Zibell had 15 kills in the first meeting, but Stocker will look to improve on her two blocks.
Ellery Bresler and Dani Wagner have shared the setting, but need to find a way to connect with their hitters at a very high level. Lacey Waid, Stocker, and Aubrea Worm are the Ponies' most consistent hitters, but after letting Reggie Bernard get some action on the outside last week, the Ponies have new weapon as well.
Hitting errors and other mistakes will be magnified again the Eagles, as they have consistently made teams pay this season. But if coach Melanie Skoyen can get her girls to play at a high level, a level they have seen flashes of this season, then the Ponies could be very competitive against a top team in the conference.
Tonight the Ponies will look for one last regular season win, facing the Eagles in Lewistown.