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Pony spikers battle Class B foes

Havre High hosts Conrad Saturday night in the Corral


October 6, 2017

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Havre's Jessa Chvilicek goes for a dig during last Saturday's match at the HHS gymnasium. The Blue Ponies will be home again this Saturday, taking on the Conrad Cowgirls.

After putting together three straight wins late last month, the Havre High volleyball team suffered a pair of setbacks last week and will now look to get back into the win column with consecutive non-conference matches tonight and Saturday.

The Ponies, who are 3-8 overall and 0-3 in the Central A conference, will take on a pair of Northern B opponents, starting with tonight's match in Cut Bank and wrapping up Saturday, when Havre and Conrad will meet inside the HHS Gymnasium. The match in Cut Bank starts tonight at 7, while Saturday's contest in Havre should get underway at approximately 5 p.m.

"Right now, we just need to do a better job of playing as a team," HHS head coach Tamecia Jarvis said. "We need to play together and start strong. That has been a problem for us recently. I keep telling them, we cannot get behind at the beginning of sets by four or five points, because that just makes it too hard to come back."

Following back-to-back losses to CMR and Lewistown last week, Havre is in need of some positive momentum. Earlier in the season, the Ponies found themselves in a similar situation and were able to find the winner's circle against both Cut Bank and Conrad via 3-0 sweeps. Now, the Ponies will look to do something similar, as they prepare for the home stretch of the regular season.

"We need to be more consistent," Jarvis said. "We have times when we play well and we play up to our potential, but we just need to do that from start to finish, not after we fall behind."

One area where the Ponies have struggled to find consistency is hitting the ball. Yet, one of the bright spots in that area for Havre has been the play of Camryn Huston. The senior has racked up 95 kills so far this season, which ranks seventh in the Central A. She also has 18.5 blocks to her credit, which is also seventh best.

While there is no other Havre player that ranks among the top 10 players in kills, Jessa Chvilicek has also done a nice job in the middle with 19.5 blocks (sixth in the Central A), as has Emilee Cariveau, who has 14.5 blocks, good enough to rank eighth in the conference.

As a team, the Ponies actually lead the Central A in blocks per set with 1.5, but are also well behind the three other teams in kills per set at 6.8, compared to 12.1 for Belgrade, 10.1 for Lewistown and 9.4 for Livingston. Havre is also last in the conference in hitting percentage with a mark of 0.72 percent.

On a positive note, the Ponies have done well serving the ball and boast a Central A leading 3.3 aces per set, which is well above the rest of the conference. One reason for the high number is the production of Sam Oliver, who leads the Central A in aces with 40. Yet, Alex Donaldson (33), Katie Donaldson (31) and Logan Huebsch (30) have also served the ball at a high level and rank fourth, fifth and seventh, respectively.

Serving has been a strength for the Ponies, there is no doubt about that, but there is also no doubt that the defense needs to be better. Havre is averaging just 10.6 digs per set, which is nearly three digs below Livingston, which rests in third, so that's area where Jarvis said her team must improve.

"We really need to start getting more digs," Jarvis said. "We just aren't getting enough right now and that is something that we need to get fixed."

The Ponies will look for the season sweep against both Cut Bank and Conrad starting tonight in Cut Bank. Havre will wrap up its weekend Saturday, when it will host Conrad inside the HHS gymnasium.


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