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Shorthanded Ponies travel to the Electric City

 

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The injury bug has struck again the Havre High volleyball team again.

And while it's good that the injuries have occurred while the Blue Ponies arestill in the beginning stages of their season, they are about to face a weekend full of some of the toughest talent they will see this yearand without two of their top players.

Friday and Saturday, the Central A Ponies (3-0, 3-0) will be in Great Falls where they will take part in the prestigious Electric City Classic.

Friday will be pool play, where no match will affect the Ponies overall or conference records. But depending on how the Ponies do against Bozeman, Billings West, Glacier, Hellgate, Butte, CMR and Helena, HHS will be seeded into tournament play on Saturday which will count towards the overall record.

Friday's matches will consist of two games to 20 with a possibility of a split. And Saturday's matches will be a two-out-of-three format, games scored to 25.

If the Ponies were one hundred percent healthy, this weekend would still present itself as a tough one. But already missing senior Paighton Gilman (ankle injury) and now Juletta Don (knee injury), the Ponies' weekend gets even tougher.

"We want to be competitive," Havre High head coach Melanie Skoyen said. "I know there will be teams that we will be able to split with. As much heart as we have been playing with, I know our girls can play with anybody. Playing these bigger schools is going to make us so much better, but I also know that we are the type of team that will step it up to their level."

Despite facing two key injuries, the Ponies confidence goes unscaved. And while Don's injury isn't too serious, Skoyen just doesn't want to risk making it any worse.

"We don't think it is anything too serious," Skoyen said. "But we might save her and let her rest. I think she could play this weekend, but I don't want to push it, especially since they are non-conference matches."

HHS has had to do some rearranging in preparation for this weekend.

Sammy Evans will move from the outside to the middle for Don, and Sarah Armstrong will also remain in the middle, filling in for Gilman. And Alexia Olson, who has been moved up from junior varsity will play on the outside for Evans. Olson has been practicing with the varsity for some time now, and Skoyen is confident she will perform, and perform well.

"She has done very well with the team chemistry," Skoyen said. "And I am confident she will do just fine."

The lineup may not be exactly how the Ponies would prefer, but they are still in a position to do well this weekend against some of the top Class AA talent in the state.

Every team HHS will face this weekend is relatively the same as one another, but a whole lot different than any conference opponent the Ponies will see.

The Blue Ponies would like to use these matches to fine-tune for any upcoming conference opponents, and that means running several different defensive looks.

Havre will try at least two different defenses. The Ponies will give their opponent the line and try to shift and defend, or attempt to take away the line completely and force the opposing hitters to hit towards some other area of the floor.

"All the teams we will face hit the line very well and we aren't used to defending that," Skoyen said.

Whether the Ponies earn a handful of wins or a handful of splits, this weekend will force them to improve. They will face some of the state's top talent and will hopefully escape injury free.

Friday the Ponies will participate in pool play, facing Bozeman, Billings West, Glacier, Hellgate, Butte, CMR and Helena. And depending on how HHS does, they will be seeded into tournament play on Saturday. The Electric City Invite is held at both the CMR Fieldhouse and the Swarthout Fieldhouse in Great Falls.

 
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